Agriculture News

May 8, 2018

Climate Change Impacts Assessment set to release forest, urban green space reports in Bloomington

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Over the next century, rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns could dramatically alter Indiana’s forests and urban greenspaces, according to two new reports from the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment based at Purdue University.

The reports - Indiana’s Future Forests and Maintaining Indiana’s Green Spaces - will be released during a community briefing May 15, 11 a.m. to noon, at St. Thomas Lutheran Church Heritage Hall, 3800 E. 3rd St., Bloomington.

“Indiana’s forests and urban green spaces provide important economic benefits and recreational opportunities, support our diverse wildlife and generally make our state a more pleasant and healthy place to live,” said Jeff Dukes, director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. “In order to maintain these resources and preserve them for future generations, we have to understand the potential effects of climate change and act on them now.  The trees we’re planting today will be living in a different climate before they’re even very old.”

Key findings of the reports:

* Predicted climate changes - warmer, wetter winters and springs followed by hotter and possibly drier summers - may increase habitat suitability for a growing number of tree species in Indiana.

* A longer growing season and greater concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere may promote tree growth and forest carbon uptake in the short term. However, increases in the frequency and intensity of spring flooding and summer droughts are likely to offset or negate these benefits.

* Maples are among the most commonly planted street trees in Indiana. Many of them could experience negative effects from a warming climate.

* Warming temperatures are expected to increase heat stress on urban plants and may result in additional pressure from pests and diseases.

The reports include contributions from partners at Purdue, Indiana University, Indiana State University and the U.S Forest Service - Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NAICS). Lead authors are Songlin Fei, associate professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue; Leslie Brandt, NAICS climate change specialist; and Richard Phillips and Heather Reynolds, associate professors of biology at Indiana University.

The Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA), based at Purdue University, has compiled the latest scientific research into a series of easily understandable reports about climate change impacts in nine topic areas: climate, water resources, health, energy, forest and urban ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, tourism and recreation, agriculture and infrastructure. The assessment team consists of more than 100 experts from Purdue and other Indiana institutions.

The IN CCIA has released two reports so far. Both are available on the IN CCIA website at http://indianaclimate.org. For more information about the IN CCIA, go to the website or follow on social media at @PurdueCCRC, #ClimateChange, #INCCIA. 

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-2722; dpack@purdue.edu

Source: Jeff Dukes, 765-494-1446, 765-494-1525; jsdukes@purdue.edu

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information, dpack@purdue.edu  
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