Rapid and surprising dieback of Utah juniper in the southwestern USA due to acute drought stress

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We observed that juniper canopy dieback was most severe (>60% canopy dieback) at hot, dry, low elevation sites, and was associated with drought-induced hydraulic damage. There was no evidence that biotic agents could be the primary drivers of this dieback, implicating the acute effects of drought as the main causal agent. The speed and scale of this drought-induced juniper dieback seems to be historically unprecedented in the region and foreshadows an uncertain future for piñon-juniper woodlands as the region continues to get warmer and drier.

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