Forests and Climate Change in the Southeast USA


Key Findings

  • Warming air temperatures will likely increase regional drying regardless of changes in precipitation, and this drying will likely increase wildfire risk across southeastern USA forests.
  • Longer growing seasons will likely increase the risk of insect outbreak and very likely will expand the northern range of some species such as the southern pine beetle.
  • Continued increases in metropolitan populations coupled with increase water use by forests will likely cause more frequent and severe regional and local water shortages.
  • Despite climate and demographic derived changes, forests in the southeastern USA will likely continue to provide a sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

  • Citation: McNulty, Steven; Caldwell, Peter; Doyle, Thomas W.; Johnsen, Kurt; Liu, Yongqiang; Mohan, Jacqueline; Prestemon, Jeffrey; Sun, Ge 2013. Forests and Climate Change in the Southeast USA. In: Ingram, K.; Dow, K.; Carter, L.; Anderson, J., eds. 2013. Climate of the Southeast United States: Variability, change, impacts, and vulnerability. Washington, DC: Island Press. 165-189.

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