Climate change speeding flux of forest ecosystems

Forest ecosystems are always in a state of transformation, but climate change might speed up the process. That’s according to Neil Sampson, an international forestry consultant.

Neil Sampson: It’s not a natural flux, it’s a much faster flux than it has ever happened before.

Some current climate models predict widespread ecosystem changes and significant biodiversity loss.

Neil Sampson: For our Eastern hardwoods, they may be replaced by pine.

Sampson also believes the warming climate’s longer, frost-free seasons might make forests more susceptible to invasion by insects. The mountain pine beetle, for example, has already decimated forests in Colorado and Canada.

Neil Sampson: The major fear with forests and climate change is that climate change will affect trees slowly but it may affect insects and disease fairly rapidly. And that could be the ones that cause us trouble as we try to keep our forests healthy under changing climate conditions.

That could prove especially true for remote forests that aren’t actively managed.

Neil Sampson: Private landowners can plant that new species mix and encourage it in one way or another, and perhaps cope with these kinds of changes better.

Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.

Our thanks to:
Neil Sampson
President, Sampson Group
Alexandria, VA

December 1, 2008

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