The northeastern U.S. is highly exposed to climate change; in fact, the rate of change is higher than most places on earth (Karmalkar and Bradley 2017). The forests of the Northeast CASC region, and the wildlife that inhabit them, are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  In particular, the boreal forests, a biome that reaches from Alaska to the Northeast, and the northern hardwoods, including sugar maple and paper birch, are expected to be intolerant of climate warming. Likewise, many of the birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, and insects that inhabit these forest ecosystems are at their southern range edges here and are considered sensitive to climate change. Furthermore, local species’ adaptive capacity is limited by habitat fragmentation, high rates of invasive species, and other stressors. There is considerable uncertainty with respect to the magnitude and direction of future changes, particularly with respect to interactions with changes in land use and land management, as well as novel interactions amongst co-occurring species. Thus, a focus on climate adaptation in northern forest ecosystems, including evaluations of the impacts of particular actions, is critical. 

Subscribe to Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department