Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change creates complicated consequences for North America's forests

Date:
October 15, 2013
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Climate change affects forests across North America -- in some cases permitting insect outbreaks, plant diseases, wildfires and other problems -- but researchers say warmer temperatures are also making many forests grow faster and some less susceptible to pests, which could boost forest health and acreage, timber harvests, carbon storage, water recycling and other forest benefits in some areas.

Dartmouth Professor Matt Ayres studies the southern pine bark beetle, a forest pest that may be the largest source of disturbance in coniferous forests throughout North America.
Credit: Eli Burakian

Climate change affects forests across North America -- in some cases permitting insect outbreaks, plant diseases, wildfires and other problems -- but Dartmouth researchers say warmer temperatures are also making many forests grow faster and some less susceptible to pests, which could boost forest health and acreage, timber harvests, carbon storage, water recycling and other forest benefits in some areas.

The Dartmouth-led study, which appears in the journal Ecological Monographs, reviewed nearly 500 scientific papers dating to the 1950s, making it the most comprehensive review to date of climate change's diverse consequences for forests across the United States, Canada and the rest of North America.

Tree-killing insects and plant diseases are natural elements of healthy forest ecosystems, but climate change is rapidly altering the distribution and magnitude of forest pestilence and altering biodiversity and the ecosystem. For example, pine bark beetles have recently killed trees over more area of U.S. forests than wildfires, including in areas with little previous experience managing aggressive pests. "One of our prominent challenges is to adapt forest management tactics and generalize the underlying theory to cope with unprecedented changes in pest pressure," the authors say.

Results show that over the last 50 years, the average global air temperature has increased about 1 ̊ F, while the coldest winter night averages about 7 ̊ F warmer. That has permitted population explosions of tree-killing bark beetles in forests that were previously shielded by winter cold and made it easier for invasive species to become established. But tree growth rates in many regions are increasing due to atmospheric change, which may increase resilience to pests. Also, pest populations in some regions may decline, allowing those forests and their environmental and economic benefits to expand.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aaron S. Weed, Matthew P. Ayres, Jeffrey Hicke. Consequences of climate change for biotic disturbances in North American forests. Ecological Monographs, 2013; 130211092805008 DOI: 10.1890/13-0160.1

Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Climate change creates complicated consequences for North America's forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015103953.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2013, October 15). Climate change creates complicated consequences for North America's forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015103953.htm
Dartmouth College. "Climate change creates complicated consequences for North America's forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015103953.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins