03 Nov 2011:
Mass Change in Tree Species
Occurring in Western North America, Study Says
A huge shift in tree species
is taking place across the western United States and Canada as global warming, drought, insect infestations, and fire are driving certain species out of some regions and allowing new species to take their place. Using remote sensing data, U.S and Canadian scientists analyzed the condition of 15 coniferous tree species in 34 different “eco-regions.” The study found that once-common tree species, such as lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce, are being replaced by species that can survive in warmer, drier conditions, such as ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. The most intense shifts are occurring in the northern and southern extremes of western North America. In central California, for example, half of the species now present are not expected to survive future climate conditions, with temperatures expected to rise by 5 to 9 degrees F this century, according to the study, published in the journals Ecological Modelling
and Remote Sensing of Environment
. Already, more than 70,000 square miles of forest in the western U.S. and Canada have been destroyed by outbreaks of beetles that thrive in warmer temperatures.
“Some of these changes are already happening pretty fast and in some huge areas,” said lead author Richard Waring of Oregon State University. “The forests of our future are going to look quite different.”
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.