Read the full story in Fast Company.
Anyone who has stood at the base of a redwood or visited Sequoia National Park knows the beauty of giant, old trees. But future generations may not get to experience that same sense of wonder. We’ve already lost a minimum of 30% of the world’s old-growth forests since 1900, and as trees face a host of environmental threats, their forests may be made up exclusively of younger, shorter trees.
A global study published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory looked at the many drivers for tree death, from wildfires to insects to rising temperatures across the world. That minimum loss of old growth is probably much higher, says Nate McDowell, a PNNL earth scientist and the study’s lead author, because it doesn’t include what’s happening now to forests along with the land-use change and harvesting that has long been happening, such as those wildfires and infestations.