Map of drought-vulnerable forests created by scientists

English Section / 20 septembrie

Map of drought-vulnerable forests created by scientists

Versiunea în limba română

The lungs of this world are in danger due to drought. The forests most at risk of disappearing due to drought are located in the Mediterranean basin, southern Australia, northwestern Amazon, and the United States. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), in collaboration with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The study aimed to identify the forests most vulnerable to water scarcity, as reported by the EFE agency. Pablo Sanchez-Martinez, a researcher at CREAF, is the lead author of the study, which is part of his doctoral thesis and has been published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The main innovation of the new method lies in evaluating the forest as an entire ecosystem, a collection of organisms that respond differently to external conditions, allowing for a much larger-scale prediction of the impact of climate change on forests worldwide. To detect the forests most vulnerable to drought, the study uses a new method to characterize forests in the face of water scarcity from a broad and holistic perspective. For this purpose, researchers considered physiological data regarding the strategies used by thousands of species to cope with water scarcity, evolutionary and phylogenetic data on how adaptation to drought has evolved, as well as data on soil and climate in each biome around the world. According to the researcher, "specific physiological data for each species tells us that many Mediterranean trees are highly adapted to drought. Even so, our model suggests that these forests are at very high risk of disappearing due to drought" because "species highly sensitive to drought coexist" with increasingly frequent and prolonged episodes of water scarcity. Alongside Pablo Sanchez-Martinez, the study was conducted by researchers Maurizio Mencuccini and Jordi Martinez-Vilalta.

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