Drier Weather, Drier Fuels

Dry weather – and huge wildfires – are common. “Climate change would modify fuel moisture and wildland fires dramatically across the United States,” says Yongqiang Liu. Liu is a U.S. Forest Service research meteorologist who recently investigated climate impacts on fuel moisture. His study was published in the journal Ecohydrology. Weather quickly influences fuel moisture…  More 

Eastern Trees Move North & West

After analyzing extensive data collected on 86 tree species in the eastern U.S., researchers found that most trees have been shifting their ranges westward or northward in response to temperature and precipitation changes. Scientists from Purdue University, North Carolina State University, and the U.S. Forest Service collaborated on the study, which was recently published in…  More 

The Most Vulnerable Trees

What do water locust, Texas walnut, chalk maple, pyramid magnolia, two-wing silver bell, and butterbough all have in common? They’re among the U.S. tree species most vulnerable to climate change, according to a study by North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service Forest Health Protection program sponsored the study,…  More 

Where’s the Carbon?

Carbon is the foundational element of life, and trees use atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow. “Trees can partially offset carbon dioxide emissions,” says U.S. Forest Service plant physiologist John Butnor. “Trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time.” Butnor and his colleagues studied carbon storage in longleaf pine…  More 

Air Pollution Could Worsen Water Shortages in a Changing Climate

Over the past 40 years since the passage of the Clean Air Act, air pollution from automobiles, factories, and power plants has substantially decreased, leading to better human and environmental health. But air pollution and its impacts on people and ecosystems remain a concern amid growing demands for transportation, energy, and manufactured goods. University and…  More 

Shifting Rainfall Patterns May Change Southern Appalachian Forest Structure

A new research study by U.S. Forest Service scientists finds that changes in rainfall patterns in the southern Appalachians due to climate change could reduce growth in six hardwood tree species common to the region. The findings have implications for forest managers in the Southeast, where climate variability (more extreme events or changes in precipitation…  More 

Hot Time in the City

In Georgia, U.S. Forest Service scientists and cooperators are mapping out climate change vulnerability at the county level. Their results suggest that people who live in metro Atlanta are at most risk of disruptions from the rising temperatures and extreme weather events of recent decades — and that this vulnerability could persist well into the future. Cassandra…  More 

Trees in Transition

In forests as in life, the only constant is change. Forest species are ever adjusting to changing conditions resulting from seasonal fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, disturbances such as storms and wildfire, and interactions with other species. But typical temperature and precipitation patterns are now also changing; in some areas, climatic changes are occurring rather rapidly,…  More