Desert plant life disappearing due to climate change, UC Irvine study says – Press Enterprise

A new study from the University of California, Irvine, shows that the steady decline of plants in parts of the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is being driven by increased heat due to climate change.

The area became hot three times during the study period from 1984 to 2017, and vegetation decreased by an average of about 1% per year in the desert area of ​​the study area. While rainfall fluctuations accounted for some of the year-to-year fluctuations, broader trends resulted in an overall reduction of 35% of vegetation in desert ecosystems and a 13% reduction in adjacent mountains.

A 34-year NASA satellite imagery study of the 5,000-square-mile desert shows that anthropogenic climate change is reducing the amount of vegetation in drylands (mainly desert areas) around the world by trickle-down. But add ever-increasing evidence. Impact on animals, and in some cases humans. According to the UCI report, about 41% of the earth’s land is dry.

“These results suggest that recent climate change has already had a significant impact on these (sonoran) reliefs, and future warming increases the risk of dryland ecosystems in other regions. It highlights the possibilities of. ” the studyWas published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in May.

Desert vegetation has a reputation for being strong and adaptable, but UCI researchers have found that such resilience has only progressed so far.

“We were able to find these (plants) at the edge of what is physiologically acceptable, but additional stress, such as climate change, can exceed the limits,” said a professor of earth sciences. Yes, says James Landerson, one of the five UCI authors in the report. “Our study clearly shows that there are climate change victims.”

The sacrifice affects not only the plants of the Sonoran Desert, including Cleosotobush, Yucca, Okotiro and Mesquite, but also the lives of animals that depend on their vegetation.

“There is a cascading effect,” Landerson said.

Local and global trends

From the 1980s to the 2000s, “desertification hotspots” (areas with declining vegetation) expanded globally, covering about 9% of arid land. This is defined as “dry, semi-dry, dry sub-wet areas”. United Nations Report for 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The study found that climate change is reducing the biodiversity of arid regions around the world and noted its impact on humans. About 500 million people live in these hotspots, which have the greatest impact on agricultural productivity and “human well-being” and hit the driest regions of Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

The study also noted that the adverse effects of climate change in some areas were exacerbated by the expansion of arable land and unsustainable land management practices.

Close to home State Report for 2019 The Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Agency has spent 30 years investigating plants in Deep Canyon, Riverside County, in the Santa Rosa Mountains. It was found that some species began to move to cooler, damp highlands as the annual temperature and humidity tended to rise.

“Understanding the regional changes taking place in the region may help predict how state-wide vegetation will respond to warmer and drier climates in the future,” the report said. Stated.

UCI’s research relied on Landsat satellite imagery, so it was not possible to identify the species that had disappeared from the Sonoran Desert. On a broader regional basis, Joshua Tree is expected to fall among the victims.

A 2011 Survey by the US Geological Survey We used climate modeling to analyze the long-term outlook for Joshua Tree. “We have determined that the rise in temperature due to climate change in the southwest is likely to eliminate Joshua Tree from 90% of its current range” in 60-90 years. “

Another victim of climate change could be an okotiro and a hummingbird that eats it. Biologist Jim Cornett He recently told the Los Angeles Times that hummingbirds are important for hummingbirds migrating from Mexico, and the disappearance of hummingbirds could cause some hummingbird species to stop or become extinct.

Landerson has placed a new UCI report in the context of these other findings.

“Relatively few studies have examined long-term trends,” he said. “But what they find seems to confirm what we did.”

Desert plant life disappearing due to climate change, UC Irvine study says – Press Enterprise Source link Desert plant life disappearing due to climate change, UC Irvine study says – Press Enterprise

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