The Atlantic coast & its eerie “ghost forests”

Jun 17, 2019, 5:32 AM EDT
(Source: Peter Rintels/flickr)
(Source: Peter Rintels/flickr)

The mid-Atlantic and Gulf coast shores are being enveloped by dead trees and the forsaken farmlands called “Ghost forests,” depicting the ugly, scary face of climate change that’s causing sea level rise nearly three times faster in this region than the global average.

In this place, where most of the private, rural lands are at risk, the trees succumb to slow death as salty water seeps through the soil and roots fail to siphon marine water. Gradually, the greens turn into bare trunks and branches, lifeless just like ghosts, notes Popular Science.

The scale of this phenomenon is alarming. More than 150 square miles of trees stand bleached and dead since the mid-1800s in the Chesapeake Bay area. The same story goes for about 57 square miles of forests along the Florida Gulf Coast over the last 120 years.

The upside of this unsightly transition is that, gradually a community of salt-tolerant plant species populate the ghost forests, forming coastal wetlands that serve as a naturally protective ecosystem, guarding the shores against erosion and storing more carbon than forests do.

 

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