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
An initial list of high-risk, low-risk, and new species options for the Lake Simcoe watershed has been prepared to help guide the LSRCA planting program. Higher risk species are those projected to be unsuitable for our watershed in the coming decades.
Continuing to plant these species may continue to be appropriate depending on project objectives, but land managers should be prepared for the potential of reduced growth, shorter lifespans and a lack of natural regeneration.
Lower risk species, are currently common in our watershed and will continue to be suitable in the future. Southern seed sources will likely prove to be better adapted than native seed over longer time horizons.
- White spruce
- Balsam fir
- Eastern white cedar
- Paper birch
- Trembling aspen
New species options, which 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.
- Black cherry
- Maple (sugar, red, silver)
- Oak (red, white, bur)
- White pine
Click here to view the full forestry climate change adaptation strategy.
- Hickories (e.g. shagbark hickory, bitternut hickory, pignut hickory)
- Southern oaks (e.g. swamp white oak, eastern black oak, Chinquapin oak, scarlet oak)
- Tulip tree
- Various other Carolinian species
Aside from the species listed here, projections for thousands of other plant species are 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.