Experts say extensive damage to trees in the 2013 Southwest drought foretells the future for forests globally, according to Yale Environment 360. Rising temperatures, less rainfall and prevalent fires are a large source of the damage felt in the U.S. today.
The damaging trends in the U.S. are accelerating and are having large effects on surrounding landscapes. If left unchecked, forest destruction in the U.S. could leave the stock of standing trees almost gone by 2050.
New Mexico forests have become living laboratories of sorts, with the increase and effects of fires in that state becoming a marker for what could happen to forests around the world. With the combination of a warmer climate and less rainfall, experts say the incidence of large-scale forest fires will likely increase.