Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Future for Trees

an animated map showing the current distribution of the Evergreen Oak in Europe and how that distribution might change during this century

Like many people a few years ago I realized that not only is climate change happening but that human beings as a species are doing next to nothing to prevent its escalation. I do believe that the worst excesses of climate change are still preventable. I just see very little evidence that we are making the changes necessary to stop global heating, or even slow our ever increasing rush towards climate crisis.

I've recently noticed that a growing number of mapped visualizations are also no longer focused on the possibility of climate change but more on how the environment will almost inevitably be impacted. For example the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils Explorer has released an interactive map which visualizes how different crops will be affected by climate change in Africa. The visualization maps out where in Africa climate-resilient crops will likely have bigger and smaller yields thanks to global heating.

Of course crops aren't the only flora which will be affected by climate change. The natural habitats of tree species (like all plant species) will be seriously impacted by global heating. Which is why Our Forests Tomorrow has released an interactive map which shows where different tree species in Europe might struggle to survive after global warming and where they might need to migrate in order to survive.

The interactive map in Our Forests Tomorrow allows you to select from 67 different European tree species and see where in Europe they are likely to struggle to survive and where they might thrive thanks to global heating. The maps are based on the EU-Trees4F study, which analyzed the potential distributions of 67 tree species under climate change.

There are other responses to what I think of as environmental existentialism. Acknowledging that your elected representatives are proving spectacularly ineffective at addressing the climate crisis does not need to be defeatist. It can instead be the first step towards the Dark Mountain

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