Larger trees are affected by drought greater than small trees

Larger trees are affected by drought greater than small trees
Credit: Jayel Aheram, Flickr

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has found that the larger the tree, the more likely drought is to affect it.

Researchers did studies on 38 forests across the globe and have determined that drought affects the larger trees greater than small trees. The study is published in Nature Plants and even though smaller trees are affected by drought too, they just have a better outlook than a larger tree.

"Our theory suggested this should be a globally consistent pattern, but this project was the first to test this hypothesis globally," said Nate McDowell, one of the authors of the study, and plant physiologist and forest ecologist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Researchers examined different kinds of forests world wide, including rain forests, semi-arid forests and temperate forests. A total of 40 different drought sessions were studied to better get an accurate result.

The larger the tree the harder it is for the tree to carry nutrients to the top branches. During drought a larger tree needs more water and when water is not as common it starts to have trouble getting nutrients to the branches farther out.