Drought is endemic to the American West along with heatwaves and intense wildfires. But scientists are only beginning to understand how the effects of multiple droughts can compound to affect forests differently than a single drought alone.
UC Santa Barbara forest ecologist Anna Trugman — along with her colleagues at the University of Utah, Stanford University and the U.S. Forest Service — investigated the effects of repeated, extreme droughts on various types of forests across the globe. They found that a variety of factors can increase and decrease a forest’s resilience to subsequent droughts. However, the study, published in Nature Climate Change, concluded that successive droughts are generally increasingly detrimental to forests, even when each drought was no more extreme than the initial one.
Droughts usually leave individual trees more vulnerable to subsequent droughts. “Compounding extreme events can be really stressful on forests and trees,” said Trugman, an assistant
In the spring of 2017, Theanne Griffith was a new mom on maternity leave with her first baby girl, Violeta. It was hard. Breastfeeding was so much more challenging than Griffith ever expected, and sleep deprivation was no joke. Still, the pause from her demanding role as a postdoctoral neuroscientist at Columbia University gave her some time to think.
All her life, Griffith had two consistent loves: science and books. She’d always dreamed of becoming a children’s book author — a goal that kept being put on hold as her scientific career flourished. Why was she letting that happen, though?
“I remember sitting there on my couch, breastfeeding my 1-month-old, and I thought, ‘Theanne, you know what, just do it,’” Griffith, 34, told TODAY Parents. “I started a website and changed my Twitter handle to say I was a children’s book writer. …