Landowners Can Apply Strategies to Help Forests Adapt to Climate Change

Photo 1: Forest trees get ready for fall on top of Mt. Lemmon in Arizona. Photo credit: Martha Gebhardt.

By Martha Gebhardt, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona

 

Forest vulnerability is expected to increase in decades to come, according to a draft of the National Climate Assessment released in January of 2013. The report stated that as temperatures continue to rise, droughts, insect outbreaks, and wildfires would all occur more regularly. The forestry chapter of …

The Effect of Climate Change on Mountain Pine Beetle

Excerpt from: Régnière, J. 2009. Predicting insect continental distributions from species physiology. Unasylva. 60:37-42.

The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) (Fig. 1) is an indigenous North American bark beetle that has been confined to the western part of the continent by the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains geographical barriers. Exactly one generation per year is ideal for this diapause-free, or dormancy-free, species.

 

Figure 1. Photos of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae. A. (top left) Adult mountain

The Effect of Climate Change on Gypsy Moth

Adapted from: Régnière, J. 2009. Predicting insect continental distributions from species physiology. Unasylva. 60:37-42.

The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) (Fig. 1) was intentionally introduced from Europe to the northeastern United States in 1869. It has spread west and south in the United States as well as north into Canada, where it has reached its northern limit due, in part, to adverse climatic conditions. Currently, the gypsy moth is confined to areas east of Lake Superior, although isolated infestations …

Invasives in Southern U.S. Forests

Written by Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona

As climate variability increases, each species within an ecological community will respond individually. With current information, it is impossible to know specifically how climatic changes will affect native plant populations or how invasive plants will respond. It is certain, however, that no two plants will respond in the same way to any given change. Regardless of the instigating factors, the establishment of invasive plants would likely be assisted if the current ecosystem breaks …

Landscape Analysis and Climate Change

Contents


Adapted from: Kennedy, Rebecca S.H. 2008. Landscape Analysis and Climate Change. (May 20, 2008). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center. http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/topics/landscape-analysis.shtml

Issue

Landscape analysis involves the assessment …

Invasives in the Southwestern U.S.

Adapted from: Rogstad, Alix, Thomas DeGomez, and Carolyn Hull Sieg. 2007. Invasive plants in Arizona’s forests and woodlands. University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Publication No. az1436

Competition for resources (moisture, light, nutrients) is fierce in the often resource-limited environments of the desert Southwest. Species native to the desert Southwest have special adaptations to take advantage of short-lived moisture sources and to endure long drought periods (Dimmit 2000). Other arid places in the world besides the southwestern …

Understanding Climate Change Impacts in Temperate Forests

Written by Ronald Mahoney

Forest ecosystems are complicated and ever changing. Forest landowners and managers must consider a vast array of information to meet either specific stand objectives and/or broader goals of landscape level management. In many situations, land management objectives integrate measurable products, such as timber and forage, and less tangible assets, often collectively described as aesthetics. On other lands, production of timber or other products may be primary, but a broad consideration of ecosystem functions and processes is …

Invasive Species and Climate

Adapted from: Rogstad, Alix, Thomas DeGomez, and Carolyn Hull Sieg. 2007. Invasive plants in Arizona’s forests and woodlands. University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Publication No. az1436

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (Carter, 2003) has described the effect of climate variability on invasive plants as a mounting issue: “Some native species are unlikely to be able to adapt fast enough to the changing climate regimes, resulting in a lowered competitive edge and weakened resistance of ecosystems …

Climatic Thresholds and Environmental Change

Excerpt from: Mahoney, Ron. 2007. Thresholds and Environmental Change. University of Idaho Extension: Woodlands Notes. 18:2.

An environmental threshold is often described as a tipping point. One of the enduring metaphors describing a tipping point is “the straw that broke the camel’s back”: the camel was fine until one more small unit of burden was added, and then the situation changed dramatically.

Think of bringing water to a boil. If we observe water in a vessel over heat, it …

Climate Change Impacts on Forest Diseases

Written by Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona
Forest disease organisms and abiotic occurrences that lead to diseased trees are common in terrestrial ecosystems. Most of the disease organisms within forests are essential to the health of the system and are present at background levels, generally occurring on weakened members within a forest stand. Occasionally, diseases can overcome a forest system and a stand-replacing event will occur, but this is a rare event even in the least resilient forests. The full …