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Monsoons less able to help ponderosa pine forests due to megadrought, study shows

Ponderosa pine forests have faced years of challenges as the Southwest contends with decades of megadrought.

study from University of Arizona researchers shows that monsoons are not providing the help they used to.

The study found that from the year 1960 to 2000, ponderosa pine forests had been able to regulate water loss from drought as monsoons offered relief.

Since the onset of the megadrought with the new millennium, ponderosa forests outside the reach of the North America monsoon have not been able to retain water as well as forests that get the summer rains.

But even those are seeing struggles. 

In a press release, study author Brandon Strange said that enough heat and drought can permanently impact a tree’s ability to absorb and disperse water, which can be fatal for the pines.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.