(LA Times) California’s forests have already lost millions of trees in recent years due to rising temperatures, the drought and a plague of bark beetle infestations. But if the drought persists, millions of more trees throughout the state could die, according to a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers used an airplane, remote sensing technology and satellite imagery to produce the first maps that show how much water the state’s trees have lost. Virtually every forest has been affected in some way, said study leader Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.

Asner said he was struck by the “sheer degree of loss and mortality” in Southern California forests as he flew over the depleted trees. “There was a lot of silence in the lab in the back of the plane because it was just so bad to see,” he said. FULL REPORT