Drought and climateThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
In the time covered by this synthesis, researchers of six Evaluation Monitoring (EM) projects under the national Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program of the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, presented findings on the effects of drought and other weather- or climate-related phenomena on specific aspects of forest health in the United States. (The term “weather” refers to the short-term behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere at the scale of minutes to months, while the term “climate” refers to long-term weather patterns.) One project mapped coastal forest mortality and change in the Big Bend region of Florida attributed to sea-level rise, a phenomenon that has been linked to climate change. Another project examined the predictability of forest health impacts caused by extreme weather events, which may in turn be linked to broader climatic trends. Two related projects investigated the different effects of drought on the health of distinct tree species groups in forests of the Southeastern United States, as well as the influence of drought on forest carbon balance. In addition, two projects analyzed the impact of climatic factors on the health of particular Alaskan tree species, with both of these projects considering the role of ongoing climate change in exacerbating these impacts.