Volume 11, Issue 3 - May/June 2017
Eastern Trees are Moving North and West
After analyzing extensive data collected on 86 tree species in the eastern United States, researchers found that most trees have been shifting their ranges westward or northward in response to temperature and precipitation changes. University and U.S. Forest Service scientists collaborated on the study, which was recently published in Science Advances. “Trees are shifting partially because of climate change, but their responses are species specific,” said Songlin Fei, a Purdue University scientist and professor who led the study. “Deciduous trees like oak and maple are primarily moving westward. Evergreens are responding in a different way. They’re moving northwards.” The researchers used Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data on tree abundance documented between 1980 and 2015 for their analysis. North Carolina State University scientist Kevin Potter, a cooperator with the Eastern Threat Center, and Southern Research Station research forester Chris Oswalt were among the study collaborators. Read the Purdue University press release and news coverage on this study from Nature, the Associated Press, The Atlantic, North Carolina State University, and The Christian Science Monitor.