Forest risks in India: drought and extreme heat

“With drought and heat posing individual threats [to forests], there is also the looming threat of frequent ‘double whammies’ of drought and heat: concurrent drought and heatwaves, across India and the globe”, says a recent Nature study introduced by science writer Sandhya Sekar on the conservation and environmental science news platform Mongobay.

According to Sekar, “the response of vegetation to a combination of drought and stress is complex, ranging from short-lived local mortality events to regional-scale forest die-offs. A variety of forest types have shown mortality in the face of concurrent heat and drought: dry savannas which are adapted to seasonal rainfall, coniferous forests with a Mediterranean climate to tropical rainforests.”

However, forests’ ability to adapt to drought or heat depend both on the life history of the respective tree(s) and on the tree species. Stating that present vegetation in India cannot sustain itself under future climate, the article discusses the vulnerability of different forest types to tailor  future forest management and potential transitions into more resilient vegetation types.

Read more about how both researchers and forest managers in India are addressing drastic climate events like heat, droughts and forest fires in different regions as well as how forest risks are correlating with socioeconomic parameters like poverty and ecological factors like biodiversity loss in the Mongobay article “When drought and extreme heat strike forests at the same time”

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