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Drought hits redwood ferns hard, new study shows

Redwood ferns

The native ferns that form a lush green understory in coastal redwood forests are well adapted to dry summers and periodic droughts, but California’s current prolonged drought has taken a toll on them. A comprehensive study of water relations in native ferns, conducted during one of the worst droughts in California’s recent history, shows that extreme conditions have tested the limits of drought tolerance in these plants.

“We’ve seen permanent dieback in some patches,” said Jarmila Pittermann, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz.

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Source:  Tim Stephens, UC Santa Cruz, February 2, 2016

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