Does anyone remember when I was ridiculed for saying so? And banned by Real Climate for suggesting models should take into account the loss of a major carbon sink?
I am afraid we have hit a tipping point where trees and other plants are suffocating in our pollution, either dying directly from exposure, or so weakened they are succumbing to secondary attacks by insects, disease and fungus. This increased vulnerability has been demonstrated in many controlled experiments, which have also shown that trees exposed to ozone are more likely to suffer damage from drought, wind and winter cold.
I really don't understand why the NYT refuses to even consider including the underlying role of inexorably rising, persistant background levels of tropospheric ozone. There exists vast amounts of published research, including biomonitoring and open-air fumigation experiments, indicating that ozone is toxic to vegetation, and NOTHING ELSE - not drought, insects, disease or fungus - explains why young trees being watered in nurseries are exhibiting the exact same well-known symptoms of exposure to ozone that mature trees in the wild show, as for that matter, do annual crops and ornamentals being watered in pots. As Mr. Gillis has at last acknowledged, insects are opportunists. They and the disease, fungus and certain lichens are preying on trees that are already dying from air pollution.