As Wisconsin’s climate undergoes serious change over the next 100 years, the species in its forest will certainly be impacted. To better understand these impacts coordinated research must be conducted in a relatively short time from and throughout a broad range of subject areas. The WICCI Forest Working Group, aims to facilitate this research to produce a body of work that is more substantive and efficient than research occurring through independent approaches.

Potential Risks

Photo: Pine Cone

Photo by Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin’s average temperatures will rise in the coming years, with longer summers and shorter winters. We are also likely to see more extreme storm events, floods, and droughts. Climate scientists are still working to accurately model these and other climate shifts so that we can have a clearer picture of what the climate will look like in years to come.

Populations of plants and animals of the forests maintain themselves based on specific climatic conditions. These populations are vulnerable as average temperatures and seasons change. With this change, tree species growing at the edge of their range, such as White Birch and Jack Pine, could be pushed out of the state and the range of southern hardwoods expanded.

Future Plans / Roadmap

Photo: Forest Creek

Photo by Wisconsin DNR

The Forestry Working Group will investigate these potential impacts by working closely with climate scientists, biologists, foresters, and stakeholdersto better understand the impacts of Wisconsin’s changing climate on native and urban forests. This understanding can be used to support management and policy decisions to ensure healthy, sustainable forests in the future.

In the months to come, the Forestry Working Group expects to produce the following:

  • A risk assessment of climate change to Wisconsin’s Forests
  • Working Group and Topic white papers summarizing expert opinions, research needs and focuses
  • Peer-reviewable research results from participants
  • Adaptive Management guidelines for Wisconsin forestry

With these initial products, the members of the working group hope to develop a roadmap of climate change adaptation in Wisconsin’s forest.


Please contact Stephen Handler if you have any comments or concerns regarding Wisconsin's forests and the changing climate.

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