California’s Trees Can’t Keep Up With Fires
California is deeply invested in reducing its carbon emissions, with expansive goals that include reducing it’s carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. A critical part of this is maintaining and even growing their forest cover, but this may be harder than anticipated.
A recent study conducted by the University of California found that tree cover has declined since the 1980s by about 6.5%. Southern California was hit the worst by this, but even areas that recover well from forest fires, like Northern California, have some visible decline.
Keeping track of California forests is critical for California’s climate goals, because carbon sinks are part of their climate plans. If plans are made on how much carbon can be emitted based on forests that no longer exist, it could make efforts to combat climate change useless.
Loss of forest cover can have unexpected repercussions outside of carbon emissions. Loss of forests can exacerbate drought, worsen wildfires, and cause other problems.