Snowpack declines may stunt tree growth and forests’ ability to store carbon emissions

Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

Researchers conducting a 5-year-long study examining snow cover in a northern hardwood forest region found that projected changes in climate could lead to a 95 percent reduction of deep-insulating snowpack in forest areas across the northeastern United States by the end of the 21st century. The loss of snowpack would likely result in a steep reduction of forests’ ability to store climate-changing carbon dioxide and filter pollutants from the air and water.

…..”These experiments demonstrate the significant impact that changes in winter climate have on a variety of environmental factors, including forest growth, carbon sequestration, soil nutrients and air and water quality,” Reinmann said. “Left unabated, these changes in climate could have a detrimental impact on the forests of the region and the livelihoods of the people who rely on them for recreation and industries such as tourism, skiing, snowmobiling, timber and maple syrup production.”

Andrew B. Reinmann, Jessica R. Susser, Eleonora M. C. Demaria, Pamela H. Templer. Declines in northern forest tree growth following snowpack decline and soil freezing. Global Change Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14420