When we think about the impacts of climate change in New England, our minds often go to the ocean and coasts. But a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that New England’s forests are vulnerable, as well. In New England, average yearly temperature has already increased by 2.4 °F, with even greater warming during winter.
“The longer growing season is of course, potentially a good thing for our native species, but it also benefits invasive species as well, so that’s one downside,” said Jennifer Hushaw, an Applied Forest Scientist with the Climate Services Program at Manomet in Plymouth and a contributor to the report.
While some species will enjoy the longer growing season and hotter weather, other trees will suffer. Those include New England’s sugar maples and balsam firs—trees with economic importance.
“Some of the forest types that are expected to have the greatest vulnerability are those dominated by spruce and fir,” she said. “The kind of forests you see when you go up to the White Mountains, the Adirondacks, or northern Maine.”