How Are Trees Affected By Climate Change?

Through the decades, our climate has gradually changed. It has gotten warmer.

In actual fact, since 1900 the average temperature on the earth has increased by less than two degrees Fahrenheit. But the most drastic climate and weather changes actually occurred in the years since the year 1980. This includes things like flooding and drought.

What are the effects on forests of the climate changes? Similar to humans are accustomed to the same place under certain growing conditions. When the weather changes rapidly, they don’t have time to change. This causes stress for them and could cause issues that require special care and attention.

Change in The Climate Of Trees A Winner And Loser

What are the impacts of the climate change on trees? The impact of climate change has affected trees quite some. A huge dry spell within the West has resulted in massive tree deaths and outbreaks of bark beetles, while an increase in precipitation in the Northeast has increased the productivity of forests and the growth of trees.

Different tree species deal with the issue in different ways.

“Winners “winning” tree species have adjusted to warmer temperatures as well as wetter conditions , and are exhibiting more growth.

However, those “losing” trees have a different tale that is specific with each kind of species particularly those found in the southern portion of their zones of hardiness. For instance, birch trees found in Michigan aren’t heat- or drought-resistant, which is why they are suffering when they are more susceptible to these types of weather. The white pines located in New England can’t handle the increasing pressure from disease because of the increased temperatures and humidity. Tree species in the West face difficult conditions because of wildfires.

Effects of Climate Change on Tree Diseases and Pests

Climate change is certainly accelerating the tree pest and tree disease epidemics.

Certain insects of the tree are moving north into regions in which they were not able to thrive in the past due to winters that weren’t warm enough. For example the southern pine beetle indigenous to areas of the Southeast U.S. has migrated north to areas where it has not previously been. The insect is killed by temperatures that can drop to a temperature of minus degrees F, and it’s not this cold in these states.

Another consequence of the changing climate on tree species that we’re witnessing is that certain insects are now experiencing multiple generations within one season, as the seasons of growth are taking longer than they did previously. For instance, oystershell scale a major pest of trees, changed from having just one generation per year to having two in the northern part of Ohio as well as southern Michigan and southern Michigan, which is resulting in increased levels.

Tree Planting’s Impact On Climate Change

There are some positive news regarding climate change.

While climate change impacts the growth of trees but there are also the effects of trees on changes in the climate. For example, trees can provide shade, thus reducing the use of electricity and cooling costs. Trees can also cut down on stormwater runoff and are even more important since heavy rains and precipitation grow. Furthermore, trees absorb in carbon and hold it for future use.

Trees planted in the garden can improve the climate of the future. When you plant trees you should consider the future of changing zones of your region. In the next 30-50 decades, Ohio as an example which is located within Zone 5-6 is expected to transition to an area in Zone 7 because of the warming climate. (Insert USDA Hardiness Zone Map here)Some species like sugar maple or spruce are likely to not be able to thrive in the state. However, river birch native to the southern part of Ohio and farther south and the bald cypress – a second southern tree, are doing very well across northern Ohio and even further north, and will continue perform well for years to come.

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