Climate change, other factors may reshape central Appalachian forests

May 28, 2014

The hardwood forests of the central Appalachians are a bastion of biodiversity, providing protective habitat for some 6,000 species of plants and animals. They support a $5 billion forest products industry in Pennsylvania alone. But these forests face stresses that could change their character substantially over the next hundred years. One of these stresses is climate change. Given current forecasts for rising temperatures and increased precipitation, the suitable habitats for many individual tree species are expected to migrate north. But forest ecologist Margot Kaye says the impact on actual trees is hard to predict.