Climate Change

The Threat

Changes in temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and growing season are affecting every part of the New England landscape.

Spring is coming earlier, fall is starting later, and many plants and animals are not able to keep up. Some species are moving north and upward in elevation as the climate warms. Ecosystems stressed by climate change are more easily invaded by pests and pathogens. Extreme storms and flooding events are becoming commonplace. Maple syrup season, an important component of our local economy, is in flux. 

Preserving intact forests increases future options for our region and resiliency in a time of rapid change.

Snowy hemlocks

The Solution

Conserved forests:

• remove carbon dioxide from the air, offsetting our region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Heavily forested lands sequester, or absorb, up to three times more carbon per acre than developed land

• provide corridors for wildlife and plants to move north as the climate warms

• retain carbon in soils

• help regulate water flow, lessening the impacts of floods and maintaining habitats for cold water fish

• provide a wealth of future options for landowners interested in participating in ecosystem service markets such as carbon sequestration

• serve as a source of small-scale thermal biomass, replacing fossil fuels with a local and renewable fuel

Our Role

Wildlands and Woodlands partners and the New England Forest Policy Group are working towards enhanced climate policies that include forest conservation. W&W is also leading a Stewardship Science citizen research project to better understand our region’s changing forests. W&W partner Harvard Forest is undertaking a Land-Use Scenarios Initiative to see how policy and management decisions today affect the climate resilience, water security, and other services of our landscape in the future.