Science: Forests Battered by Climate Change

August 21, 2015


Today’s forests have been greatly altered by human activity and face increasing threats from drought, insect infestations and fire. A Special Section in Science this week examines forest health from the tropics to the boreal forests of the north. Read more:

Christian Science Monitor:

“Although it [the boreal forests] remains largely intact, it faces the most severe expected temperature increases anywhere on Earth. Mr. Schepaschenko said some parts of Siberia are likely to eventually become 11 C warmer. That will bring greater precipitation, but not enough to compensate for the dryness caused by hotter weather. A drier boreal will suffer new diseases, insect infestations and vast wildfires,” The Canadian Press’s Bob Weber reported.

The boreal forest, which is sometimes called by its Russian name “the taiga,” is a belt of coniferous trees that sprawl across North America and Eurasia. Lying atop formerly glaciated areas and places with patchy permafrost, these forests are subject to varying environmental conditions.

Now, Schepaschenko says that the trees cannot move northward, or towards colder climates, quickly enough.

“The forests can’t go so far to the north. The speed at which forests can move forward is very slow, like 100 metres a decade,” he said.


2 Responses to “Science: Forests Battered by Climate Change”

  1. climatebob Says:

    The last time the world had today’s level of 400 part per million of CO2 was four million years ago and the trees and plants at that time were adapted to the climate that went with it. Those trees had taken thousands or years to evolve to match those condition. The trees we have today are adapted to a CO2 level of 280 PPM and a climate 0.8C cooler than today and are rapidly going into conditions 2C warmer and with dramatically changed rainfall conditions of either drought or flood.
    We can expect to see much large numbers of trees and other plant life dying in the coming years.

  2. witsendnj Says:

    Much of the drought is due to the fact that trees are dying from air pollution, and have been for years. The boreal forest isn’t “largely intact”, trees everywhere are in decline.

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