Forests Changing Along With Climate

Ecology and Environment

MSI Principal Investigator Peter Reich (Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences) is the lead author on a new study that shows that the composition of forests may change as the climate warms. In a long-term field study in northern Minnesota, the researchers simulated the effects of warmer temperatures on trees. The results showed that boreal (northern) forest trees such as spruce and fir were adversely affected by warmer temperatures, while species that prefer temperate zones, such as oak and maple, did much better. The overall result was that the more southerly species seemed to crowd out the boreal ones.

Professor Reich has used MSI resources to support his research for many years. He is currently developing improved modeling techniques to study the effects of climate change.

The new study appeared recently in a letter in Nature Climate Change. It has also been posted on the U’s Discover blog. Several media outlets have discussed the study, including:

Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Duluth [Minnesota] News Tribune

City Pages (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Science Daily

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