Sugar Pines growth due to climate change

Asked February 18, 2020, 6:43 PM EST

I had heard and was wondering that due to climate change, would sugar pines and other hard wood pines become more of the climax species within the Deschutes County and surrounding area? If so, would it be beneficial to begin planting saplings? Or would that be more detrimental to the local plant life?

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

The topic of species migration and altered forest dynamics in the wake of climate change is one that has come up a lot recently. The information we have currently is largely based on models, which includes a level of uncertainty. It is difficult to say what the environment will look like in the future.

If a change in climax species were to occur, I would guess that it would happen over a very long period of time. So instead of preemptively replacing the current species, one mitigation method is to select seedlings of the current species from trees grown in slightly warmer seed zones. There are online tools that help you to identify different seed zones under different climate scenarios and ultimately find the best fit for your planting sites. (https://seedlotselectiontool.org/sst/). Tools like these are highly dependent on your goals and objectives, as well as the exact location of your planting sites. You are definitely on the right track, proactively thinking about how climate change will affect future forest succession.

I would be happy to go into more detail, or answer any additions questions. I can be reached at 541-523-6418.