At the risk of arousing climate-change skeptics, I’d like to invite both believers and skeptics to a talk Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Newton Free Library at 7pm, by BU associate professor Dr. Pamela Templer, who will speak about the effect of regional and local climate change on tree health in both urban and forest settings. Her particular focus has been not hotter summers, which is most people’s idea of global warming, but the rise in average winter temperatures and reduced snow cover, and how that impacts what’s underground, from tree roots to microorganisms to water quality.
Yes, I hear you thinking, “but it’s been so cold this winter.” True, but how much snow is on the ground now? Cold without an insulating snow cover is more damaging than cold with snow cover. And remember the warmer late winter with little snow a couple of years ago? That can dry out tree roots. Insect ranges seem to be expanding. Will native ranges of trees shift northward? Perhaps my tree favorites, tulip trees and sweetgums, native up to the mid-Atlantic area, will eventually not just grow here, but sprout from seeds here. But at that point, sugar maples might not.
Happily, there is no extreme weather in the forecast for Thursday, so hope to see you at the Library.