Study suggests air pollution is harming native plants, increasing fire risk in Santa Monica Mountain

Research from the University of California has “[indicated] that high levels of nitrogen may adversely impact native plants and, by extension, increase the risk of wildfire.” Measuring the amount of nitrogen in various locations in the Santa Monica Mountains enabled researchers to figure out that native plants are being squeezed out by certain grasses, whose properties lead to a higher likelihood of fires. The study’s ultimate goal is to “help the scientists better determine the ‘critical load’ when vegetation shifts, causing alterations to the structure and functionality of ecosystems.” 

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