Sierra magazine cites research by Ph.D. student in article about forests, climate change
Sierra magazine spoke with Kathryn Miller, an external graduate faculty member in the School of Forest Resources, about research she conducted as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maine for the story “Can We Help Our Forests Prepare for Climate Change?” Miller, who now is a National Park Service plant ecologist, leads a research program tracking long-term health of forests in Acadia National Park and other parks on the East Coast. At UMaine, Miller investigated whether eastern trees could adapt to climate change on their own without human influence, according to the article. She ran a simulation for 15 tree species to see if they would be able to migrate from the Southeast to the Northeast in time to accommodate the rapidly changing climate and fill ecological niches that would be left empty as some species that would no longer be able to cope with the effects of climate change become extinct. In Miller’s model, most of the species couldn’t make it past southern New York due to urbanization and other barriers to migration. This realization prompted Miller to reconsider the practice of assisted migration for some species as a way to help forests adapt to the changing climate, the article states.