Redwood Forest fog slowly slipping away
August 15, 2011 | 11:36 am CDT
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Recent reports about a study appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the fog covering the California coast, including the majestic redwood forests and the famed Golden Gate Bridge, has declined over the years.

In a February 17, 2010, U.S. News & World Reports article, the study’s coauthor James Johnstone, a biologist from the University of California, Berkeley, said, “Since 1901, the average number of hours of fog along the coast in summer has dropped from 56 percent to 42 percent, which is a loss of about three hours per day.” He attributed this drop to the fact that the temperature difference between coastal and inland areas has declined.

The fog is essential for nurturing the redwood forest, according to the authors of the study. They said the fog helps the redwoods retain water. Coauthor Todd E. Dawson, a University of California, Berkeley, professor, said, “Fog prevents water loss from redwoods in summer, and is really important for both the tree and the forest. If the fog is gone, we might not have the redwood forests we do now.”

Dawson acknowledged that the mature trees will not immediately die, but he also questioned what will happen to new growth and the consequential effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

Dawson and Johnstone said they plan to use their research to estimate climate patterns as far back as 1,000 years.

I originally heard about this on NPR last week and then later came across the newspaper article. The reports made me wonder, ‘If climate change can affect our forestland in this manner, what type of impact might it have on our industry?’ What are your thoughts?

Short YouTube video of the Redwood National Park from user wonder7.

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