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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Tree Planting in a Changing Climate

​​Adapting tree planting for climate change


Higher temperatures, 
a longer growing season, variable precipitation patterns, extreme weather, invasive species - these are all having significant impacts on our forests now, and we can expect more change and challenges in the future. 

We know that these changes will impact the survival of our trees and forests, with certain commonly planted species no longer suitable for planting. ​​To increase the chance of survival, species selection should consider climatic range projections, in addition to more traditional factors such as soil type and site tolerances.

Trees for the Lake Simcoe watershed


Retreating species are those projected to be unsuitable for our watershed in the coming decades. Continuing to plant these species may be appropriate, but foresters should be prepared for the potential of reduced growth, shorter lifespans and a lack of natural regeneration:
- White spruce (Picea glauca)
- Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)
- Eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
- Paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
- Tamarack (Larix laricina)
- Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Enduring species are currently common in our watershed and will continue to be suitable in the future:
- American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
- Black cherry (Prunus serotina)
- Maple (sugar, red, silver) (Acer saccharum, A. rubrum, A. saccharinum)
- Oak (red, white, bur) (Quercus rubra, Q. alba, Q. macrocarpa)
- White pine (Pinus strobus)

Advancing species options will become suitable to plant in our watershed as the climate continues to warm. Seek out information on a new species' characteristics, planting requirements, growth potential, and how these trees are performing in nearby areas:
- Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
- Hickories (for example, shagbark hickory, bitternut hickory, pignut hickory) (Carya ovata, C. cordiformis, C. glabra)
- Southern oaks (for example, swamp white oak, eastern black oak, chinquapin oak, scarlet oak) (Quercus bicolor, Q. velutina, Q. muehllenbergii, Q. coccinea)
- Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
- Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
- Blackgum (Nyssa sylvestre)
- Various other Carolinian species

Aside from the species listed here, projections for thousands of other plant species are also available through planthardiness.gc.ca. You can explore species-specific maps and models across multiple time periods and climate scenarios, and access detailed information on the modeling process.