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12 Sep 2013: Migration of Trees Is
Not Keeping Pace with Warming

Kilmer Memorial Forest, NC
Brian Stansberry
Kilmer Forest, North Carolina
Most tree species in the U.S. aren't migrating northward as rapidly as predicted in response to climate change, a new study says. Looking at 65 species across 31 eastern states, the team found no consistent, northward migration of tree species, as many other climate studies have predicted. Rather than shifting northward by dispersing seeds to cooler climates, the researchers found, tree species are responding by speeding up their life cycles. "Most trees are responding through faster turnover," says lead scientist James Clark of Duke University, "meaning they are staying in place but speeding up their life cycles in response to longer growing seasons and higher temperatures." The results appear in Global Change Biology.

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