Recently California is witnessing a massive decline of big trees. Although a number of factors have contributed to the dropping number of trees over years in California like disease, fire, logging and development, scientists suggest that the recent decline owes to an added factor which is global warming. The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have pointed out that since 1930s the big trees like pine have declined by 50 percent.
Comparison of the survey data of 1930 and 2000 showed that there has been an increase in the number of small trees and a dramatic decline in the number of large trees from the north coast to the southern border. The focus of the study was mainly the pine trees, having diameters over two feet.
According to lead researcher Patrick McIntyre, the decline of big trees can be explained by water stress as per their data. The new trees fail to absorb as much carbon dioxide as the big trees do. Study’s co-author David Ackerly explained that the loss of big trees is thus affecting the carbon cycle negatively. UC Berkeley alumnus Albert Wieslander commented “This is really an astonishingly broad and detailed depiction of vegetation in California at that time and it’s important that through its nearly 100-year life it has almost been lost a number of times.”