As trees face drought & climate change, old age trumps youth
Sometimes old age and gritty stamina trumps youth and resilience. It’s true for people. It turns out it’s true for trees as well. Old-growth trees can endure the battering of a drought better than their younger counterparts, scientists have learned. In the face of increasingly frequent and more intense droughts fueled by climate change, the new research underscores the importance of ancient trees to sustain forests. … Forests in the southwest U.S., for example, are currently in the grip of the worst drought of at least the last 1200 years. Such droughts can be lethal for trees, causing their vasculature to collapse or weakening their ability to withstand pests and diseases. In one study of California forests, as many as half the trees in some places died during the drought that ran from 2012 to 2015.