Why millions of dead trees in the Sierra may have helped save water during the drought

Author: 
Ryan Sabalow, rsabalow@sacbee.com
January 16, 2018

The millions of trees that died in the Sierra Nevada during California’s five-year drought may have actually helped the state’s water supply once the historic dry spell finally ended, according to a new study.

Scientists led by UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute examined how much water was being absorbed by plant life in 1 million acres of Sierra forest along the watershed that feeds into the Kings River east of Fresno. The study, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, spanned the years before, during and after the drought, which officially ended last year.

“We don’t know what’s going to grow back, and we don’t know how much water what grows back is going to use,” Bales said. “This is an uncontrolled experiment.”

Read the full article online