Future of the Forest

Part C: Suitable Trees for your Home Region

What can you do?

Changing climate is a concern of many people around the world. What can you do to help slow the rise in temperatures due to the increase in greenhouse gases? Read What can I do? for some ideas.

Trees, the subject of the lessons here, are not only affected by climate change, but they can help to mitigate (or slow) the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. So one thing that you can do is to encourage the planting of new trees in your neighborhood or school yard. To learn more about working trees, read these two brochures from the USDA.

Source: Working trees

Show what you know

Apply what you have learned in this module about weather, climate, and climate change to select plants and trees for your neighborhood. You will need to answer these questions as you complete your plan:

  • What is your climate zone and biome? (see Lab 4A for details on how to locate this information)
  • What is your typical climate? (see Lab 3C)
  • What trees are suitable for your region? Use the USDA interactive hardiness zone map to find your zone.
  • How will you be using the trees? Are they for shade, as a windbreak, or as a decorative accent?
  • Use the Arbor Day tree selector to help you narrow your choices. Read through the selection categories before you begin. For example, look for "drought tolerant" (under soil), for trees that will grow with low water use.
  • Will the trees be suitable to the "new" climate in 2050? Once you have a few trees selected, return to the Tree Atlas website to see if the range of the trees you have selected presently includes your home region and if those trees species will grow in your area in 50 years.

Prepare a 3- to 5-minute presentation answering these questions to share with your family, neighbors, or school officials. Make the case about how trees are impacted by climate change and how your careful selection and addition of trees can help to make a difference.

Additional Resources

  • Printable versions of the Hardiness zone maps by state or region are available here.
  • Visit the American Forests page to learn about reforestation projects taking place in the United States.