Regional carbon sequestration and climate change: It’s all about water
Forests need a lot of water to produce the goods (e.g., timber) and services (e.g., carbon sequestration and climate moderation) that benefit humans. Forests grow naturally in water-rich regions where precipitation is abundant or where groundwater is available, such as riparian areas in arid regions. For example, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) forests are found in areas where mean annual precipitation normally exceeds 1,000 mm/yr (40 inches/yr). However, under climate change scenarios, water availability is projected to decrease and become more variable in the future, potentially impacting loblolly pine productivity. Extreme weather events such as heat waves and prolonged droughts are of particular concern for southern forests, which are not as well adapted to extreme soil water stress as their western counterparts.