Thesis Defense Announcement

College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Thesis Defense of

Michelle Field

for the Degree of Master of Science

May 17, 2019 at 3:00 PM in Johnson Hall, Room 222

Advisor: Youngsang Kwon

Evaluating tree species migration potential using Latitudinal Tree Growth Rate across the Eastern United States 

ABSTRACT: Predicting climate-driven tree species' future redistribution is a key element to guide preemptive forest management to mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change. This study uses the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database to determine tree species potential redistribution based on millions of observations across the eastern US forest. The dynamic variable calculated in the study is the growth rate residual after standardized by basal area for a ten-year period (2003-2013). Residuals of growth rate are examined by latitudes within each species' range allowing growth rate to indicate on-going habitat preference. This study examined six species that are climate sensitive and its entire range are within US boundary; Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust), Quercus laurifolia (laurel oak), Maclura pomifera (Osage orange), Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay), Quercus nigra (water oak), and Quercus phellos (willow oak). While this study hypothesized that high growth rate residuals would be present at northern range of climate-sensitive species compared to their southern range limits, indicating northward migration potential, two species (Black locust, Osage orange) showed northern migration potential, three tree species (Laurel oak, Water oak, Sweetbay) showed range contraction towards their southern boundaries, and one species (Willow oak) showed indications of southern migration.