EarthLabs > Climate and the Biosphere > Lab 7: Future of the Forest

Future of the Forest

Introduction

As the climate changes, how will the forest change? In the western United States, will we see a return to grasslands and chaparral? In the Northeast, where will the sugar maple tree find the right conditions for optimal sap production? How will farmers need to adapt their practices to optimize syrup production in the future? As you complete this last set of labs in the module, keep in mind the many paths we can take to mitigate climate change and to help our forests adapt to our changing climate.

In this lab, you'll view interactive graphics that show the predicted climatic conditions for the next 40 to 70 years under a variety of models and emissions scenarios. You will then review the optimal growing climate for the sugar maple and consider the impacts of climate change on the distribution of this species of tree. You will extend this question to other plants as you examine changes in plant hardiness zones from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Finally, you will choose a tree species of interest and, using the U.S. Forest Service's Tree Atlas and other resources, you will propose suitable trees for your neighborhood or school yard.


After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

Keeping Track of What You Learn

In these pages, you'll find three kinds of questions. Your teacher will let you know which questions you should answer and turn in.

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