Drought

Climate Change Presents a Mismatch for Songbirds’ Breeding Season

Spring is the sweet spot for breeding songbirds in California’s Central Valley – not too hot, not too wet. But climate change models indicate the region will experience more rainfall during the breeding season, and days of extreme heat are expected to increase. Both changes threaten the reproductive success of songbirds, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. 

Grassland Study Examines Soil Viral Diversity in Drought Conditions

Viral communities across a grassland area are not uniform, and understanding viral dynamics could lead to better insight into how bacteria in soil will react to drought and other climate changes, according to research out of UC Davis.

Viruses can affect microbes, the food web, the carbon cycle and other ecosystem processes, including controlling bacteria.

Agave: The New Drought-Tolerant California Crop?

Agriculture in California faces an uncertain future as drought, wildfires and other climate extremes become more commonplace in the West. But a fledgling industry focused on growing and distilling agave plants, which are used to produce tequila and mezcal in Mexico, could be California’s answer to fallowed fields and a lack of water.

Just What Is a ‘Resilient’ Forest, Anyway?

What does a “resilient” forest look like in California’s Sierra Nevada? A lot fewer trees than we’re used to, according to a study of frequent-fire forests from the University of California, Davis.

More than a century ago, Sierra Nevada forests faced almost no competition from neighboring trees for resources. The tree densities of the late 1900s would astonish most Californians today. Because of fire suppression, trees in current forests live alongside six to seven times as many trees as their ancestors did — competing for less water amid drier and hotter conditions. 

The Genetics of Drought Tolerance in Bioenergy Poplar Trees

Bioenergy crops are central to climate mitigation strategies. This includes their use in BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and biomass supplied for heat, power, liquid fuels and in the future, biorefining to chemicals. It has been predicted that bioenergy will be the fastest developing renewable resource over coming decades, but at the same time, land use for bioenergy production can be controversial if it has negative impacts on land for food, or is detrimental to a wide array of ecosystem services.