Feds Warn Climate Change Could Harm Giant Sequoias

Visalia, CA (September 5, 2008)- Federal researchers warned rising temperatures may interfere with the ability of giant sequoias to sprout new seedlings and cause the species to die at a quicker rate. “The first effects of climate change that we’re likely to see is that the giant sequoias will have trouble reproducing because their root systems don’t work as well when temperatures warm,” said Nathan Stephenson, a research ecologist with the US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center. “After that, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 30 years we see their death rates go up.”

As temperatures rose and drought conditions became more severe between 1982 and 2004, researchers found that the death rate of the sequoias more than doubled. They were also more vulnerable to attacks from insects and fungus. Other plant and animal species of the region, like the American pika, are also declining in population due to climate change. “Right now, we’re going to focus our efforts on the big icon for the parks, the giant sequoias,” said Craig Axtell, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “But we may find that other problems come up down the road that we don’t even know about.”
For the full article, visit Associated Press- Feds Warn Climate Change Could Harm Giant Sequoias.