Forests not keeping pace with climate change
DURHAM, N.C. -- More than half of eastern U.S. tree species examined in a massive new Duke University-led study aren't adapting to climate change as quickly or consistently as predicted.
"Many models have suggested that trees will migrate rapidly to higher latitudes and elevations in response to warming temperatures, but evidence for a consistent, climate-driven northward migration is essentially absent in this large analysis," says James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
Nearly 59 percent of the species examined by Clark and his colleagues showed signs that their geographic ranges are contracting from both the north and south.
Fewer species -- only about 21 percent -- appeared to be shifting northward as predicted. About 16 percent seemed to be advancing southward, and around 4 percent appeared to be expanding in both directions.