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Selection: Breshears:DD [6 articles] 

Publications by author Breshears:DD.

Mechanisms of plant survival and mortality during drought: why do some plants survive while others succumb to drought?

New Phytologist, Vol. 178, No. 4. (1 June 2008), pp. 719-739,


Severe droughts have been associated with regional-scale forest mortality worldwide. Climate change is expected to exacerbate regional mortality events; however, prediction remains difficult because the physiological mechanisms underlying drought survival and mortality are poorly understood. We developed a hydraulically based theory considering carbon balance and insect resistance that allowed development and examination of hypotheses regarding survival and mortality. Multiple mechanisms may cause mortality during drought. A common mechanism for plants with isohydric regulation of water status results from avoidance of drought-induced ...


How drought-induced forest die-off alters microclimate and increases fuel loadings and fire potentials

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 25, No. 8. (2016), 819,


Forest die-offs associated with drought and heat have recently occurred across the globe, raising concern that associated changes in fuels and microclimate could link initial die-off disturbance to subsequent fire disturbance. Despite widespread concern, little empirical data exist. Following forest die-off in the Northern Jarrah Forest, south-western Australia, we quantified fuel dynamics and associated microclimate for die-off and control plots. Sixteen months post die-off, die-off plots had significantly increased 1-h fuels (11.8 vs 9.8 tonnes ha–1) but not larger fuel classes ...


Increased wind erosion from forest wildfire: implications for contaminant-related risks

Journal of Environment Quality, Vol. 35, No. 2. (2 February 2006), pp. 468-478,


Assessments of contaminant-related human and ecological risk require estimation of transport rates, but few data exist on wind-driven transport rates in nonagricultural systems, particularly in response to ecosystem disturbances such as forest wildfire and also relative to water-driven transport. The Cerro Grande wildfire in May of 2000 burned across ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex P.&C. Lawson var. scopulorum Englem.) forest within Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, where contaminant transport and associated post-fire inhalation risks are of concern. ...


On underestimation of global vulnerability to tree mortality and forest die-off from hotter drought in the Anthropocene

Ecosphere, Vol. 6, No. 8. (August 2015), art129,


Patterns, mechanisms, projections, and consequences of tree mortality and associated broad-scale forest die-off due to drought accompanied by warmer temperatures—“hotter drought”, an emerging characteristic of the Anthropocene—are the focus of rapidly expanding literature. Despite recent observational, experimental, and modeling studies suggesting increased vulnerability of trees to hotter drought and associated pests and pathogens, substantial debate remains among research, management and policy-making communities regarding future tree mortality risks. We summarize key mortality-relevant findings, differentiating between those implying lesser versus greater levels of ...


Regional vegetation die-off in response to global-change-type drought

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, No. 42. (10 October 2005), pp. 15144-15148,


Future drought is projected to occur under warmer temperature conditions as climate change progresses, referred to here as global-change-type drought, yet quantitative assessments of the triggers and potential extent of drought-induced vegetation die-off remain pivotal uncertainties in assessing climate-change impacts. Of particular concern is regional-scale mortality of overstory trees, which rapidly alters ecosystem type, associated ecosystem properties, and land surface conditions for decades. Here, we quantify regional-scale vegetation die-off across southwestern North American woodlands in 2002-2003 in response to drought and ...


A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 259, No. 4. (05 February 2010), pp. 660-684,


Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly altered global climate, and will continue to do so in the future. Increases in the frequency, duration, and/or severity of drought and heat stress associated with climate change could fundamentally alter the composition, structure, and biogeography of forests in many regions. Of particular concern are potential increases in tree mortality associated with climate-induced physiological stress and interactions with other climate-mediated processes such as insect outbreaks and wildfire. Despite this risk, existing projections of tree mortality are ...

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