The Adirondack State Park in upstate New York has a raft of legal protections to keep the mountainous forests wild and free – yet climate change could harm the Adirondacks just as easily as it could anywhere else.
Schwartzberg’s analysis is correct when it comes to invasive species. These species will increase as the climate of the Adirondacks warms, Master remarked.Larry Master
There are 2.3 million constitutionally protected acres of forests in the Adirondacks, just a portion of its 6.1 million acres that comprise the park’s collection of rivers, pine forests, and private residences. For now, the forests seem safe from many invasive species such as the emerald ash borer, but entomologist Ezra Schwartzberg says that climate change could make it easier for the ash borer – and other invasive species – to encroach into this otherwise unspoiled environment.
Schwartzberg works out of Adirondacks Research LLC in Lake Placid, NY, where he specializes in studying the biology of invasive species and how climate change can affect them. He says that while it’s hard to predict the exact changes that will accompany climate change in the Adirondack region, but research is currently underway to understand how forest ecosystems are affected by climate change.
However, some things are considered highly likely. Larry Master, a conservation biologist who has worked with the Nature Conservancy in the past, says that Schwartzberg’s analysis is correct when it comes to invasive species. These species will increase as the climate of the Adirondacks warms, Master remarked. Pathogens like wooly adelgids will begin migrating north as well as a result of climate change, the biologist added; the US Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed this, stating that these little insects that Eastern hemlock are increasing their march northwards as temperatures continue to rise.
While the relatively cool climate of the Adirondack Mountains has been keeping adelgids and other invasive species back, climate change – and global warming as a result of this climate change – could allow these species to begin creeping closer towards the forest preserve.
Scientists hope that new initiatives from global governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades will be enough to stop climate change before a tipping point is reached that will see coastal towns and cities flooded from rising sea levels.
This archive content was originally published November 30, 2014 (www.betawired.com)