Science of Summer: Learning how new trees may help an old forest

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By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, July 2, 2019

Postmedia’s series on the Science of Summer goes for a walk in the woods today as Tom Spears asks how a research forest in Petawawa is looking south for new ways to resist the heat.

Future forests could still look like today’s forests as the climate warms, but they may need a new set of genes.

Genetically, a pine tree in Ottawa is different from one in Pennsylvania. Each has adapted over time to its local climate.

And as the Ottawa Valley warms — especially as summers become hotter and drier — those southern pines may be the kind we need.

Then again, we might need to plant different tree species entirely. A third possibility: we can stay mainly with the trees we have now.

With all of these possible futures in the cards, Canada’s foresters are starting a long-term experiment at the Petawawa Research Forest, testing various methods of adapting to climate change before it’s too late.