AP reports on study that finds beech trees dominating as climate changes

The Associated Press reported on recent research by a group of scientists that found beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes. The scientists said the move toward beech-heavy forests is associated with higher temperatures and precipitation. They said their 30-year study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, is one of the first to look at such broad changes over a long period in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. The changes could have major negative ramifications for forest ecosystems and industries that rely on them, said Aaron Weiskittel, a University of Maine associate professor of forest biometrics and modeling and one of the authors. Beech, often used for firewood, is of much less commercial value than some species of birch and maple trees that can be used to make furniture and flooring, according to the AP. “There’s no easy answer to this one. It has a lot of people scratching their heads,” Weiskittel said. “Future conditions seem to be favoring the beech, and managers are going to have to find a good solution to fix it.” The Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, Concord Monitor, Maine Public, WMUR Manchester, WTOP, Valley News and The Tribune of California carried the AP report. Canadian Homesteading, Science Examiner, Currency Observer and Tech Times also reported on the study.