Southern Tree Species Thrive as Northern Hardwood Forests Heat Up

Southern Tree Species Thrive as Northern Hardwood Forests Heat UpST. PAUL, MN -- Hardwood forests in the U.S. Midwest will be impacted by higher temperatures, more precipitation and drought expected in the region, according to a recently published study from the U.S. Forest Services on the Central Hardwoods Region covering Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

A key survey finding indicates that sugar maple, American beech and white ash will be deeply impacted by the changing climate making these northern tree species more susceptible and less suited to the region. Southern species like shortleaf pine will become more adaptable in the area.

This report is part of the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework project, which enlists researchers, forest managers and landowners in considering climate change effects in forest management.

“We don’t have to wait until these changes wreak havoc on our forest habitats," said John Shuey, a co-author of the study and Director of Conservation Science for the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. "We can start managing for the future today by nudging our forests towards species adapted to withstand future climates.”


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