[MCN] Drought & forests: Can they recover? 2017 study, 2 earlier studies

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Thu Aug 10 16:16:47 EDT 2017

Public Release: 9-Aug-2017
Incomplete drought recovery may be the new normal
The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought's severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published by Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie's Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang.

Nature. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v548/n7666/full/nature23021.html
 <https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/cifs-idr080817.php>http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v548/n7666/full/nature23021.html <http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v548/n7666/full/nature23021.html>Excerpt from the release about above new report:

"If another drought arrives before trees and other plants have recovered from the last one, the ecosystem can reach a 'tipping point' where the plants' ability to function normally is permanently affected," Fang said.

2 earlier studies

“Contrary to the expectation that surviving trees have weathered severe drought, the hydraulic deterioration demonstrated here reveals that surviving regions of these forests are actually more vulnerable to future droughts due to accumulated xylem damage.”

WILLIAM R. L. ANDEREGG et al. Drought’s legacy: multiyear hydraulic deterioration underlies widespread aspen forest die-off and 
portends increased future risk. Global Change Biology (2013) 19, 1188–1196, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12100

“  …  recovery rates decrease as a catastrophic regime shift is approached, a phenomenon known in physics as “critical slowing down.” 

Egbert H. van Nes and Marten Scheffer  Slow Recovery from Perturbations as a Generic Indicator of a Nearby Catastrophic Shift. 
The American Naturalist June 2007

“We are constantly deciding how much information is enough.” (p. 44)

“Once we finally reach a decision we are relieved to have the uncertainly of decision making behind us. 
And now somebody turns up and tells us things that call the wisdom of that decision into question again.” 
(pp. 99-100)

Dietrich Dorner. The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations.
1989 in German by Rowolt Verlag GMBH.
1996 in English by Metropolitan Books, Perseus Books.

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