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Study forecasts disappearance of conifers due to climate change

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By The Staff

A new study, led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggests that widespread loss of a major forest type, the pine-juniper woodlands of the Southwestern U.S., could be wiped out by the end of this century due to climate change, and that conifers throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere may be on a similar trajectory.
“We have been uncertain about how big the risk of tree mortality was, but our ensemble of analyses — including experimental results, mechanistic regional models and more general global models— all show alarming rates of forest loss in coming decades,” said Los Alamos forest ecologist Nate McDowell, first author on the paper. “Given the recent climate talks in Paris and their focus on protecting forests, especially from deforestation, our results provide extra incentive to protect forests from the warming itself, which requires reducing emissions.”


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