Northern Arizona University is part of a multiyear collaborative effort with Navajo Technical University (NTU) and the U.S. Forest Service to understand the status of pinyon-juniper woodlands and develop restoration techniques. Pinyon pines, which are culturally and ecologically important throughout the Southwest, including the Navajo Nation, have experienced widespread mortality owing to ongoing drought conditions and other factors.
Increasing heat and aridity have also reduced seed production. However, recent research demonstrates that individual pinyon trees vary greatly in their ability to survive and reproduce during prolonged droughts. Identifying drought-tolerant trees and collecting their seeds have become increasingly urgent as drought conditions continue.