Forest conservation and carbon sequestration efforts are on the rise, yet the long-term stability of these efforts under a changing climate remains unknown. We generate nearly three decades of remotely sensed canopy water content throughout California, which we use to determine patterns of drought stress. Linking these patterns of drought stress with meteorological variables enables us to quantify spatially explicit biophysical drought resistance in terms of magnitude and duration. These maps reveal significant spatial heterogeneity in drought resistance and demonstrate that almost all forests have less resistance to severe, persistent droughts. By identifying the spatial patterning of biophysical drought resistance, we quantify an important component of long-term ecosystem stability that can be used for forest conservation, management, and policy decisions.
- climate change
- forest health
- water stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)