• Climate in the Gulf
• The Report
• For Teachers
• Slow the Change
• Speed our Response
• Water Resources
• Sea-Level Change
• Human Perspectives
Florida's managed shortleaf and loblolly pine tree forests contribute about $7 billion in production value to the state economy each year. Under a changing climate, forests will face several new challenges:
- Warmer, wetter conditions would increase the risk of forestry pests, including the damaging southern pine bark beetle. Frequent disturbance from fires and storms would favor the spread of invasive species like melaleuca and casuarina over native species.
- The combined effects of climatic changes and fire management practices will determine the magnitude of future wildfire problems. In recent years, thousands of wild fires destroyed timber, homes, and businesses. Florida would face increased risks and potential losses if wildfires increase in frequency or intensity.
- Increased fire frequency in drier conditions would require significant adaptations in forest and fire management. More fires mean changes in species selection, stand density, fertilization practices, and rotation lengths. Extreme, long-lasting droughts would seriously damage forests in the long-term. These same droughts would also increase the risk of wild fires.
- Savannas and grasslands would expand at the expense of forests, particularly in northern Florida and other inland areas of the Gulf Coast, if the drier climate scenario were to play out.
- As temperatures rise, the capacity of trees to absorb and store carbon diminishes.
Panther - South Florida Water Management District.
Tree plantation - R.Twilley
• Apalachicola Bay
• Big Thicket
• Laguna Madre
• Mississippi Delta