Adapting to climate change – a major challenge for forests

Climate change means that trees germinating today will be living in a much-altered climate by the time they reach middle age. The expected changes are likely to hit them hard and threaten key forest functions in the decades ahead. However, appropriate management shall enable to increase the forest habitat's adaptability. This is shown by the results of the Forests and Climate Change research programme conducted by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL since 2009.

Ghost Forests: How Rising Seas Are Killing Southern U.S. Woodlands

On a recent afternoon, University of Florida watershed ecologist David Kaplan and Ph.D. candidate Katie Glodzik hiked through the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, on the Big Bend coast of northwestern Florida. Not long ago, red cedar, live oaks, and cabbage palms grew in profusion on the raised “hammock island” forests set amid the preserve’s wetlands. But as the researchers walked through thigh-high marsh grass, the barren trunks of dead cedars were silhouetted against passing clouds. Dead snag cabbage palms stood like toothpicks snapped at the top. Other trees and shrubs, such as wax myrtle, had long been replaced by more salt-tolerant black needlerush marsh grass. 

In the right place at the right time

Based on a unique dataset collected during a research cruise to the Irminger Sea in April 2015, a new paper reveals a strong link between atmospheric forcing, deep convection, ocean ventilation and anthropogenic carbon sequestration.The Irminger Sea, a small ocean basin between Greenland and Iceland, is known for its harsh and extreme weather conditions during winter. Research cruises that  take measurements in the subpolar North Atlantic almost exclusively do so in summer, although the area is particularly interesting in the convectively active winter season.