A study in North Carolina of dying trees may represent a foreboding preview of what
may come to coastal ecosystems worldwide
By Jim Morrison, smithsonianmag.com, May 17, 2021
For years, Emily Ury traversed North Carolina’s coastal roads, studying patches of skeletal trees slain by rising seas that scientists call “ghost forests.”
Killed by intruding saltwater along the Atlantic Coast, they are previews of the dire fate other forests face worldwide.
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Ury knew that ghost forests were expanding in the region, but only when she began looking down from above using Google Earth did she realize how extensive they were.
“I found so many dead forests,” says Ury, an ecologist at Duke University and co-author of a paper on the rapid deforestation of the North Carolina coast published last month in the journal Ecological Applications. “They were everywhere.”