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Climate Research

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CR 14:195-206 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/cr014195

The potential impacts of climate change and variability on forests and forestry in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Mary McKenney-Easterling1,*, David R. DeWalle2, Louis R. Iverson3, Anantha M. Prasad3, Anthony R. Buda2

1Center for Integrated Regional Assessment, and 2School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
3Northeastern Research Station, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, 359 Main Road, Delaware, Ohio 43015, USA

ABSTRACT: As part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Assessment, an evaluation is being made of the impacts of climate variability and potential future climate change on forests and forestry in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This paper provides a brief overview of the current status of forests in the region, and then focuses on 2 components of this evaluation: (1) modeling of the potential impacts of climate change on tree species¹ distributions, and (2) a survey of how extreme weather events affect forests and forest land management in the region. The tree distribution modeling indicates that climate change may result in large increases in the amount of forest dominated by oak and pine, and large decreases in maple/beech/birch forest, assuming that trees are able to migrate in pace with climate change. The forest management survey results suggest that the major impacts of severe weather on forest operations currently are related more to extreme precipitation and high wind events than to temperature extremes. The implications of these results for future climate change are discussed.

KEY WORDS: Forests · Climate change · Species distribution · Forest management · Mid-Atlantic Region

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