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UDaily: Paper estimates widespread tree death in Southwestern forests under global warming scenarios

UDaily: Paper estimates widespread tree death in Southwestern forests under global warming scenarios

A research paper published today in Nature Climate Change predicts widespread death of needleleaf evergreen trees (NET) within the Southwest United States by the year 2100 under projected global warming scenarios. The research team that conducted the study, which includes University of Delaware’s Sara Rauscher, considered both field results and a range of validated regional predictions and global simulation models of varying complexity, in reaching this grim conclusion.

“No matter how we investigated the problem, we got the same result. This consensus gives us confidence in this projection of forest mortality,” said Rauscher, assistant professor of geography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

The Southwest U.S. is a semi-arid region that includes Arizona and parts of New Mexico, California, Colorado, Utah and Texas, among other states. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, it is home to 11 national forests spanning more than 20 million acres in Arizona and New Mexico, alone.