New map shows Pacific Northwest’s evergreens may not survive the future
Seattle tree lovers have long relied on historical success and “hardiness” maps specific to our region to know what species to plant where and when. A new map based on U.S. Forest Service data and climate predictions indicates that could be changing soon.
Why it matters: The new map highlights coming transformations and shows all zones are getting warmer, meaning the trees that have historically done so well in the Pacific Northwest may not survive the future, Pete Smith, the Arbor Day Foundation’s urban forestry program manager, told Axios.
What they’re saying: “We need trees that can survive today’s climate and the future climate,” he said. “Diversify, diversify, diversify. Think of it like investing in an index fund instead of a stock.”
The big picture: Trees are no longer considered a luxury or things that are nice to have, Arbor Day Foundation CEO Dan Lambe told Axios Seattle.
Go deeper: While the Seattle area is well-known for having micro-climates with a range of hardiness, the new map shows that overall the region will likely transition from USDA Zones 8a and 8b to Zones 8b and 9a by 2040.
Of note: Warmer overnight lows “can unlock all sorts of things in nature,” said Smith. “We have lots of native pest populations that are kept in check by cold temperatures.”
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