PORTLAND, Ore. Jan.
18, 2013. Longer, warmer growing seasons associated with a changing
climate are altering growing conditions in temperate rain forests,
but not all plant species will be negatively affected, according
to research conducted by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific
Northwest Research Station.
Research featured in the January 2013
issue of Science Findings—a
monthly publication of the station—reveals a complex range
of forest plant responses to a warming climate.
Although the overall potential for growth increases as the climate
warms, we found that plant species differ in their ability to adapt
to these changing conditions,” said Tara Barrett, a research
forester with the station who led the study.
Barrett and her colleagues
explored trends in forest composition in southeastern and south-central
Alaska, home to the bulk of the
world’s temperate rain forests. The researchers found an
uptick in growth in higher elevations of the region over the 13-year
with an almost eight-percent increase in live-tree biomass, a measure
of tree growth. Individual species within the rain forest, however,
differed—western redcedar biomass increased by four percent,
while shore pine declined by almost five percent.
As forest managers
consider climate impacts like these in the management of their
forests, scientists, including Barrett and research biologist
David L. Peterson, are communicating climate change science within
the agency, helping managers—in Alaska and beyond—to
meet this challenge.
In another research effort, featured in the
December 2012 issue of Science Findings, Peterson summarized
the scientific basis for
change adaptation. He and his colleagues across the country have
conducted case studies that revealed the critical role of science-management
partnerships in adaptation planning and have produced a climate
change guidebook and Web portal for climate science information.
The main objective is to get science in the hands of managers so
that they have the basic information, but also have access to the
documentation they need to do their jobs,” said Peterson.
To read more about the studies online, visit http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/42402 (January 2013 Science Findings) and http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/42317 (December 2012 Science Findings).
The Pacific Northwest Research Station—headquartered in Portland,
Oregon—generates and communicates scientific knowledge that
helps people make informed choices about natural resources and the
environment. The station has 11 laboratories and centers located
in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and about 390 employees.