Planting for the Future: The Urban Trees of Tomorrow

In an arti­cle for Grist and repub­lished in Wired, Lau­ra Hau­ta­la high­lights a lit­tle-dis­cussed cri­sis fac­ing trees as cli­mate change shifts the bal­ance of local ecosys­tems. “The is warm­ing too quick­ly for arbo­re­al adap­ta­tion, said Manuel Esper­on-Rodriguez, an ecol­o­gist at West­ern Syd­ney Uni­ver­si­ty who research­es the impact of cli­mate change on trees. That’s espe­cial­ly true of native trees.”

Con­se­quent­ly, main­tain­ing urban tree canopies means plant­i­ng for the — and con­sid­er­ing non-native options while avoid­ing major impacts on local plant and species. “To find solu­tions, researchers are study­ing which trees could do bet­ter than those cur­rent­ly in rapid­ly warm­ing cities, with an eye toward species that have already adapt­ed to dri­er regions hun­dreds or even thou­sands of miles away.”

Urban arborists must care­ful­ly bal­ance the envi­ron­men­tal and rea­sons to retain native trees with the need to plant more resilient species that will thrive into the future. “Done right, adding some vari­ety to cities dom­i­nat­ed by one kind of tree could reduce the prob­lems by waves of pests or . A patch­work of species could cre­ate a buffer against tree-to-tree infec­tion the species.”

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