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  • No Fog = No Trees

    2010 - 02.16

    The Californian redwood tree is under threat, claims a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists who conducted the research assert that a drop in coastal fog could endanger the state’s famed giant redwood trees.

    The study found that fog in that area had decreased markedly in the last 100 years. Research co-author Professor Todd Dawson said that “Fog prevents water loss from redwoods in summer and is really important for the tree and the forest.”

    Using the weather records from the US National Climate Data Centre the team at the Berkley University analysed how the fog was involved in climate changes on the coast and noticed a significant drop in levels. This drop, they believe, could have had an adverse affect on the trees.

    The California redwood is located along coastal areas mostly because unlike other trees in California they are not as well adapted to deal with California’s hot summers.

    The scientist who led the research Dr James Johnstone from Berkley University examined the redwood tree rings and found signs that the reduced fog had an effect confirming his theory. “The evidence that you see in the tree rings is consistent with drought stress produced by drought reduction,” he said.

    In addition Dr Johnstone thinks that the growth of new trees and plants could be affected by drought stress. However it should be noted that the negative impact on the tree population is still unproven.

    “We’re concerned for certain, we expect some impact on the ecology but we don’t have clear evidence that the redwoods are about to go extinct in the near term. We need further analysis to find out whether the effects are as we expect,” said Dr Johnstone.

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