New Study Suggests Forests May Lose Ability to Protect Against Extremes of Climate Change

A new study from the University of Montana suggests forests may lose their ability to protect against extremes of climate change in the future. 

“Forest canopies produce microclimates that are less variable and more stable than similar settings without forest cover,” said Kimberley Davis, a UM postdoctoral research associate and the lead author of the study. “Our work shows that the ability of forests to buffer climate extremes is dependent on canopy cover and local moisture availability – both of which are expected to change as the Earth warms.”

“Changes in water balance, combined with accelerating canopy losses due to increases in the frequency and severity of disturbance, will create many changes in the microclimate conditions of western U.S. forests,” Davis said.