“Analyzing large amounts of field data from 18,500 forest plots – from Minnesota to Maine, and Manitoba to Nova Scotia – the study identifies priority regions for forest climate adaption efforts.”
A study funded by the Forest Service found that older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests in terms of the sensitivity of carbon storage, timber volume and species richness. From the abstract (linked to this news release):
We found the strongest association among the investigated ESB indicators (ecosystem services and biodiversity) in old forests (>170 years). These forests simultaneously support high levels of carbon storage, timber growth, and species richness. Older forests also exhibit low climate sensitivity of associations among ESB indicators as compared to younger forests. While regions with a currently low combined ESB performance benefitted from climate change, regions with a high ESB performance were particularly vulnerable to climate change. In particular, climate sensitivity was highest east and southeast of the Great Lakes, signaling potential priority areas for adaptive management. Our findings suggest that strategies aimed at enhancing the representation of older forest conditions at landscape scales will help sustain ESB in a changing world.
Some of this sounds a little contradictory (maybe someone with more expertise and/or who reads the full article could explain), and I wonder if it has any application at all to more fire-prone forests. But it is a different way of looking at climate change adaptation that could be incorporated into forest planning.