Along the eastern coast of North Carolina, people have been stunned by the sights of dying trees surrounded by large pools of water. It begs the question, how did these trees start growing there if they were surrounded by water the entire time? The answer is that they weren’t that way to begin with.

This trend of “ghost forests” continues to pop up more and more on the eastern coast of the United States. Whether it’s something that is not harmful to the environment, or something we should worry about, it’s important to understand why this trend is happening in the first place. Here are a few reasons why ghost forests are seemingly on the rise.

Climate Change

Over the past couple of decades, the effects of climate change have been evident all around the world. These changes include shrinking ice caps, dried-up lakes, hotter temperatures, and much, much more. One of these changes is also a rise in sea levels.

Due to rising sea levels, small forest areas are starting to become beaches, as water starts to creep upon them. At some point, it’s clear that these trees are going to completely disappear as the water continues to rise around them. Scientists and experts alike must do something about climate change if they want this growing trend of ghost forests to dwindle.

Salt

As these ghost forests appear, some have been perplexed as to why these trees are dying to begin with. It’s a good question, as it seems trees can regularly survive while being surrounded by large amounts of water. However, many fail to take into consideration how salt water can affect trees.

For example, many areas of wetland around North Carolina are starting to have seawater seep into the soil. Over time, the salt in the seawater causes trees in these areas to completely die off, as trees do not respond well to salt at all. This all points back to climate change, as the only reason why seawater would ever be able to reach these trees is if the sea levels were rising. Over time, scientists should be more concerned about how the effects of climate change can cause salt to not only ruin trees in our ecosystem, but other plants and wildlife that depend on nature’s regular environments along coasts around the world.