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Early indications of drought impacts on forests in the southeastern United States

Formally Refereed
Authors: Michael K. Crosby, Zhaofei Fan, Martin A. Spetich, Ted Leininger, Xingang Fan
Year: 2015
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: The Forestry Chronicle


In the southeastern United States, drought can pose a significant threat to forests by reducing the  amount of available water, thereby stressing trees. Destructive changes in crown conditions provide the first visible  indication of a problem in a forested area, making it a useful indicator for problems within an  ecosystem. Forest Health and Monitoring (FHM) and Palmer’s Drought Severity Index (PDSI) data from  11 states in the southeastern United States were obtained in an effort to determine the role that  drought, forest type, and ecoregion have in indicating differences in crown dieback. Analyses were conducted by species groups using classification and regression tree (CART) analysis. The greatest  amount of total relative crown dieback occurred in red oak (18%), followed by other hardwoods  (14%), and white oak (11%). Relative crown dieback varied by forest type and ecoregion with a  relationship to drought in both red oak and whiteoak. Thisinformation will be useful for focusing  future research and modeling efforts topredict forest health conditions affected by changing climate variables.


Crown dieback, Forest health, Drought, CART


Crosby, Michael K.; Fan, Zhaofei; Spetich, Martin A.; Leininger, Theodor D.; Fan, Xingang. 2015. Early indications of drought impacts on forests in the southeastern United States. The Forestry Chronicle, Vol. 91(04): 8 pages.: 376-383. 10.5558/tfc2015-067