Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Report describes Central Hardwoods forest vulnerabilities, climate change impacts


Higher temperatures, more heavy precipitation, and drought. It's all expected in the Central Hardwoods Region of southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and the Missouri Ozarks, according to a new report by the U.S. Forest Service, and partners that assesses the vulnerability of the region's forest ecosystems and its ability to adapt to a changing climate.

More than 30 scientists and forest managers contributed to the report, which is part of the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework, a collaboration of federal, state, academic and private partners led by the Forest Service's Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS). "Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project," was published by the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station and is available online at:

A new report from the US Forest Service, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, and partners describes possible climate change effects in southern Illinois, southern Indiana and the Missouri Ozarks and assesses forests' vulnerability to changes.

Credit: U.S. Forest Service

"People often think of climate change as being distant, either geographically or temporally," said Leslie Brandt, the report's lead author and a climate change specialist with NIACS. "Our intent was to create a climate change resource that will be relevant to people who work, study, recreate, manage and care about the ecosystems in the Central Hardwoods Region."

In the Central Hardwoods, the effects of a changing climate are expected to include rising temperatures due to a rise in greenhouse gas concentrations, leading to longer growing seasons. Winter temperatures are also expected to increase in the area, leading to changes in snow cover and soil frost. The nature and timing of precipitation will change, research suggests, with some studies showing that climate change will decrease soil moisture later in the growing season.

... more about:
»Climate »Station »forests »species

Other findings of the vulnerability assessment include:

  • Conditions are expected to be less favorable for northern species such as sugar maple, American beech and white ash and become more suitable for southern species such as shortleaf pine. 
  • Forest fragmentation, an existing stressor for the region's forests, may reduce the ability of species that are adapted to future climate conditions to expand into new areas. 
  • Ecosystems that are adapted to frequent fire, such as open woodlands and savannas, may be more resilient to climate change because warmer temperatures are projected to increase the risk of wildfire.

"Plants, animals, and people all depend on forests and may all face additional challenges as temperatures increase and precipitation patterns shift," said John Shuey, a co-author of the study and Director of Conservation Science for the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. "But we don't have to wait until these changes wreak havoc on our forest habitats. We can start managing for the future today by nudging our forests towards species adapted to withstand future climates."

More than a century of weather records demonstrate a changing climate for the Central Hardwoods, a region that is 40 percent forested, with about 80 percent of forested land privately owned. Since 1900, minimum temperatures in the Central Hardwood Region have increased by 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum temperatures have decreased by a similar amount. The region is receiving 12 to 17 percent more precipitation, particularly in the spring and fall since the turn of the last century. Over the past 30 years, more rain has been falling as heavy precipitation events of 3 inches or greater. Since the 1970s, a decrease in snow cover has led to an increase in soil frost.

"Confronting the challenge of climate change presents opportunities for managers and other decision-makers to plan ahead, foster resilient landscapes, and ensure that the benefits that forests provide are sustained into the future," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. "Forest Service science is delivering tools and data that will help managers in the Central Hardwoods and throughout the nation meet this challenge."


The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) is a collaborative effort among the Forest Service, universities, and forest industry to provide information on managing forests for climate change adaptation, enhanced carbon sequestration, and sustainable production of bioenergy and materials. As a regional, multi-institutional entity, NIACS builds partnerships, facilitates research, and synthesizes information to bridge the gap between carbon and climate science research and the information and management needs of land owners and managers, policymakers, and members of the public.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of our nation's forests, amounting to 850 million acres including 100 million acres of urban forests gracing the nation's cities, where 80 percent of Americans live. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people's lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

Jane Hodgins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Climate Station forests species

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Covering the bases with cover crops
01.10.2015 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Innovative seeding machine to speed up kenaf planting
23.09.2015 | Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Light Touch May Help Animals and Robots Move on Sand and Snow

Having a light touch can make a hefty difference in how well animals and robots move across challenging granular surfaces such as snow, sand and leaf litter. Research reported October 9 in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics shows how the design of appendages – whether legs or wheels – affects the ability of both robots and animals to cross weak and flowing surfaces.

Using an air fluidized bed trackway filled with poppy seeds or glass spheres, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology systematically varied the...

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to build light rail vehicles for cities in the US

12.10.2015 | Press release

Siemens to add an additional 173 megawatts to Clyde onshore wind farm in Scotland

12.10.2015 | Press release

Scientists paint quantum electronics with beams of light

12.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>