Biodiversity of Trees: Local Seed Banks and Climate Change

Adapted from: St. Clair, Brad. 2008. Genetic Resources and Climate Change. (May 23, 2008). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center.


If forest managers are given the latitude and resources to go beyond local seed bank, there may be sufficient genetic resources at the landscape scale for many local tree species to survive climate change. Successful reforestation involves planted or naturally regenerated seedlings that will be suited to the site. As the climate changes, however, …

Bird Diversity and Climate Change

Adapted from: Raphael, Martin G. 2008. Effects of global climate change on birds. (October 28, 2008). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center.


Birds face many challenges from climate change, with declines in diversity near the top of the list. The potential for local or continental extinctions increases with the extent of warming (Thomas et al. 2004). The measure of diversity, known as species richness, is particularly susceptible to local declines as climate changes …

Bark Beetles

Written by: Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona

Bark beetles are tiny, naturally occurring insects that contribute to the death of thousands of trees in the western United States each year. They can also reach outbreak status in the southeastern United States. Bark beetles also occur in the northeastern United States but rarely reach outbreak levels. Bark beetles use most species of conifers. Even freshly cut logs are an ideal host for many bark beetles. The buildup of beetle populations, whether …

Amphibian and Reptile Diversity and Climate Change

Adapted from: Lind, Amy J. 2008. Amphibians and Reptiles and Climate Change. (May 20, 2008). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center.


Like many species, frogs, snakes and other amphibians and reptiles face an uncertain future as the climate changes. Amphibians have recently been documented to be experiencing global population declines (Stuart et al. 2004), and similar signs of decline may be emerging for snakes (Reading et al. 2010) and other reptiles (Gibbons et al. …

Carbon Budgets

Excerpt from Ryan, M.G., M.E. Harmon, R.A. Birdsey, C.P. Giardina, L.S. Heath, R.A. Houghton, R.B. Jackson, D.C. McKinley, J.F. Morrison, B.C. Murray, D.E. Pataki, and K.E. Skog. 2010. A Synthesis of the Science on Forests and Carbon for U.S. Forests. Issues in Ecology, Report Number 13, Spring 2010.

Forests store large amounts of carbon in their live and dead wood and soil and play an
active role in controlling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (Figure 1). In …

Forest Carbon Storage

Excerpt from: O’Laughlin, J. and R. Mahoney. 2008. Forests and Carbon. University of Idaho Extension: Woodland Notes. 19: 1 & 4.

Forests affect climate, and climate affects forests, with carbon linking the two. Forests contain three-fourths of the earth’s plant biomass, about half of which is carbon. Consequently, forests play a key role in the global carbon cycle by capturing, storing, and cycling carbon.

Forests can either be a carbon “sink” or a “source” of atmospheric carbon. Trees absorb, …

Climate-Forest Interactions

Written by Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona

Climate is an important factor in the establishment, growth, and resilience of forests and woodlands. With the highly variable climate of the Earth in recent decades, forests are beginning to show particular symptoms that relate to warmer temperatures and greater variability of precipitation. Many segments of society are in need of unbiased, research-based information so that informed decisions can be made about how climate issues will shape future forest management and policy.

Forests …

Epidemiology and Infestation of Southern Pine Beetle

Written by J. D. Ward and P. Mistretta for Forest Encyclopedia Network

The southern pine beetle (SPB), which attacks all species of pines (in the southern United States), prefers loblolly, shortleaf, Virginia, ponderosa, and pitch pines but seldom attacks longleaf pine. Recently, SPB has been observed to successfully infest white and Table Mountain pines. Mature trees in pure, dense stands have long been considered most susceptible to SPB attack, but in recent years unthinned pine plantations have increasingly supported SPB …

Climate and Disturbance

Image:Stand-replacing fire.JPGDisturbance regimes for fires, insect and disease outbreaks, and invasive species are altered by changes in climate.


Written by Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona
Figure 1. Changes in climate are forecast to increase the intensity and severity of several forms of disturbance, such as wildfire, which could impact the health and sustainability of many ecosystems. Photo: Chris Schnepf, University of Idaho.

Climate is critical as to whether a species population will expand or contract within its range. Most forests and …

Calculating Carbon Drawdown by Trees

Adapted from: McPherson, E.G.; J.R. Simpson,; P.J. Peper; and E. Aguaron. 2008. Urban Forestry and Climate Change. Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. Available at:

The Center for Urban Forest Research (CUFR) provides a tool for assessing the greenhouse gas drawdown in urban forests, the CUFR Tree Carbon Calculator (CTCC). It is the only tool approved by the Climate Action Reserve’s Urban Forest Project Protocol for quantifying carbon dioxide sequestration from greenhouse gas tree-planting …