Global warming brings southern Ohio trees to northern areas

Oct 15, 2012 by Bob Downing

For the first time, two tree species more commonly found in warmer southern Ohio are being planted in a northern county's park.

Citing , Virginia pine and river birch are going into the Tallmadge Meadows Area of the Munroe Falls Metro Park, along with native Ohio species, said Michael Johnson, chief of natural resources for Metro Parks.

A total of 89 Virginia pine and 25 river birches are being planted off Ohio state Route 91, east of Cuyahoga Falls and southwest of Kent, in the park district's biggest tree planting in decades, Johnson said.

The Virginia pine and the river birch are expected to be able to survive in Northeast Ohio and likely will move northward in the future because of climate change so it just makes sense to plant them locally now, he said.

A reason to plant them now is those trees are likely to do well and some that would ordinarily be planted might not do as well in the future, he said.

The plantings are considered "assisted migration" since the park district is giving a helping hand to species that are likely to move here in the future anyway.

"The fact is that global warming is happening," he said. "It is real. And we can't stop it. The question is how can we help the ecosystem adapt. How do we adapt to climate change?"

The plantings represent "a first step," Johnson said. "It's a little jump, not a big jump. But it's something we feel that we need to do. We want to assist in that process."

The park district, he said, is starting to rethink what it calls . The list here is being expanded to include plants more commonly found now in central and southern Ohio, he said.

These plants already are moving to the north due to and changes in . Birds and other animals are also adapting.

The planting of nearly 1,200 trees at Tallmadge Meadows started Oct. 9 and continue this week. The trees range in size from 1.5 feet to 11 feet with roots balled and covered in burlap.

Twelve other species being planted include white pine, cedar, sugar maple, tulip tree, beech. sassafras, black willow, butternut hickory, black gum and three species of oak.

Seeds of oak, hickory, beech and walnuts collected in the park district are also being planted.

The park district's past policy has been to plant only native species found in Northeast Ohio and that would have excluded both Virginia pine and river birch. But both can be found growing in the surrounding county, Johnson said.

The park district has invested about $7,000 in the new trees plus about $3,000 on the prairie tract. Park staffers are providing the manpower.

Explore further: Parks Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

4.2 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can you rescue a rainforest? The answer may be yes

Mar 27, 2008

Half a century after most of Costa Rica's rainforests were cut down, researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute took on a project that many thought was impossible - restoring a tropical rainforest ecosystem.

Mountain pine beetle marching east from Alberta

Apr 04, 2011

A University of Alberta-led research team has determined that the mountain pine beetle has invaded jack pine forests in Alberta, opening up the possibility for an infestation that could stretch across the Prairies and keep ...

Recommended for you

Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

Aug 20, 2014

European sea product consumption is on the rise. With overfishing being a threat to the natural balance of the ocean, the alternative is to turn to aquaculture, the industrial production of fish and seafood. ...

France fights back Asian hornet invader

Aug 20, 2014

They slipped into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China and have since invaded more than half the country, which is fighting back with drones, poisoned rods and even chickens.

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Manatees could lose their endangered species status

Aug 19, 2014

About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 15, 2012
Considering the crops, birds, etc have moved about 300 miles north in the last 30 yrs it's not just interesting but the smart way to plant as otherwise the old planting spieces will die.

Ask any farmer, those who haven't adjusted their plantings have lost money or even the farm because of this warming moving north.