Save the Buckeye!

Environmentalists said Friday that climate change might push the growing range of Ohio’s iconic buckeye tree out of the state, leaving it for archrival Michigan.

Save The Buckeye, a coalition of environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts, has a billboard in Columbus warning about the fate of the buckeye tree, and backers plan to hold rallies during football tailgating events.

People had thought of global warming as something far away, affecting polar bears, said Tom Bullock, an advocate for the Pew Environment Group in Ohio.

“If we don’t get started now we will reduce the opportunity to reduce global warming and curb its worst effects.”

Fox News, 15 Sep 2008

to plant, or not to plant?

Plant trees to soak up carbon dioxide – why not? But it’s more complicated than it sounds. As a meeting of the American Geophysical Union heard in December, computer models show that trees can cool the planet through photosynthesis, but only in the tropics.

The problem is that forests are dark and absorb sunlight, thereby raising the planet’s temperature. Light-coloured landscapes reflect sunlight and cool things down. In the United States and Europe, “the climate benefits of planting will be nearly zero”, according to American ecologist Govindasamy Bala. In the seasonally snow-covered regions at higher latitudes, “planting trees could be actually counter-productive”.

Other left field ideas include waiting for the next ice age, though best guesses put it at 40,000 years away.

The Sunday Age, 18 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

trees growing faster

Climate change’s impact on forests being measured via expanding tree trunks. Jess Parker a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Institution has led a group of volunteers on a 22-year tree-hugging mission that found many of the trees were growing two to four times faster than expected.

This month, when Parker and his team published a paper on their work, it was received as a key piece of evidence about the ways that climate change could be having subtle but important effects on forests. Others have found similar growth in different parts of the world, as warmer weather and more carbon dioxide fuel tree growth.
Washington Post, 20 Feb 2010

trees growing slower

To study the impact of climate change on trees in tropical forests, a team from CIRAD developed a water balance model that estimates the water available in the soil for trees, based on microclimate data, and set up weather stations throughout northern French Guiana to gather the climate data required for the model.

The scientists then showed that of all the climate variables measured, the soil water reserve, as predicted by the model, was the one that best accounted for tree growth variations from one year to the next. And they also realized that the species that best resisted water stress, which were thus best able to cope with climate change, were slow-growing ones.

Fast-growing plants are much more sensitive to water stress: in the event of drought, they show their growth so much that they considerably increase their risk of dying.
CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development), June 2013

buckeye ejected

It’s not the best-researched global-warming theory, but it could be the most horrifying to certain fans of college football: Environmentalists said Friday that climate change might push the growing range of Ohio’s iconic buckeye tree out of the state, leaving it for archrival Michigan.

David Lytle, chief of the Division of Forestry in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said healthy adult buckeye trees can tolerate a wide climate range, although seedlings are more sensitive. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan could eventually give buckeye trees a more comfortable habitat.

Save The Buckeye, a coalition of environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts doesn’t have any evidence that the buckeye’s range has been pushed north but says global warming threatens to make that happen.
USA today, 12 Sep 2008

trees less colorful

Scientists at the University of New Hampshire project that shifts in the climate caused by global warming will progressively dull the leaves throughout southern New England and New York over the next century. Maples will move north and the remaining oaks and hickories will change colors later and with less verve, they say.

“We haven’t had a really great display in the last 10 years,” said Barrett Rock, a professor in natural resources and a researcher at the Complex Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire who has studied the effects of global warming on the autumn landscape from New York to Maine.
New York Times, 16 Oct 2005

trees more colorful

The Tree Council this week said global warming caused this season’s russet reds to deep golden yellows. The lack of moisture in autumn means that a different pigment is produced called anthocyanin, says Nick Collinson, conservation policy adviser at the Woodland Trust. This gives leaves more of a red colour.

“Climate change models for the UK suggest we are likely to have hotter and drier summers, which will encourage the kind of colours you normally see in a New England fall.”
The Guardian 18 Nov 2004

see also – having it both ways

Amazon rainforests threatened

Over time, global climate change and more deforestation will likely lead to increased temperatures and changing rain patterns in the Amazon, which will undoubtedly affect the region’s forests, water availability, biodiversity, agriculture, and human health.

Research carried out under the auspices of INPE – Brazil’s National Space Research Institute – shows that a warmer and drier environment for the region could convert from 30% up to 60% of the Amazon rainforest into a type of dry savanna.
WWF, Climate change in the Amazon

Amazon rainforests not threatened

The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer, a study showed on Wednesday.

“I’m no longer so worried about a catastrophic die-back due to CO2-induced climate change,” Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter in England told Reuters of the study he led in the Journal Nature. “In that sense it’s good news.
Reuters, 6 Feb 2013