Forests in the northeastern U.S. are lush and diverse. Towering oaks in southern Connecticut give way to majestic sugar maples in Maine.

D’Amato: “On a personal level, I certainly care a lot about the forest. It’s, from an aesthetic and spiritual perspective, something I gain a lot of strength and peace from.”

Tony D’Amato, director of the forestry program at the University of Vermont, says forests in the region provide beauty and support the economy. But they’re under pressure from many threats, such as deforestation for development, logging, non-native species, over-browsing by deer, and forest diseases.

D’Amato: “As you start to make a list of all the things that are threatening our forests, it’s hard not to get a little bit concerned.”

Climate change will only add more stress. For example, seeds from some trees need snow to germinate. But as the region gets warmer and wetter, there may be less snowpack. That also leaves young tree roots vulnerable to freezing.

D’Amato: “Climate change in its own right is quite daunting, but when you put it on top of everything else that’s affecting our forests, it’s really a challenging long-term dilemma that many managers and conservation groups have to deal with.”

To preserve the region’s beloved landscapes, D’Amato says it’s important to prioritize which areas to conserve, and manage these forests as they change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...