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Study: Climate Change Forcing Trees To Move Westward

A new study says climate change is not only affecting regional temperatures but regional ecosystems, changing where certain trees grow across the United States.

Trees that traditionally grow in the southeastern United States are now growing to the north and to the west as the changing climate has affected moisture levels in soil.

Study author Dr. Songlin Fei of Purdue University said the study was primarily done for the eastern United States, but the implications are nationwide.

“So this especially can be critical for the regions already under stress like [the Southwest],” he said.

Fei said the desert Southwest is experiences increasing temperatures and changes to moisture levels as well.

The study confirmed evergreens including pines and spruce are moving northward following temperature changes but also found broadleaf species moving westward, including oaks and maples, following changes in moisture content of soil.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.