More settled science: Climate change/warming speeds up tree life cycles instead of causing migration

Forest Canopy

Forest Canopy (Photo credit: CIFOR)

From Duke University and the “I was sure those tree rings were linear indicators” department, comes this news: Climate Change May Speed Up Forests’ Life Cycles

DURHAM, N.C. – Many climate studies have predicted that tree species will respond to global warming by migrating via seed dispersal to cooler climates. But a new study of 65 different species in 31 eastern states finds evidence of a different, unexpected response.

Nearly 80 percent of the species aren’t yet shifting their geographic distributions to higher latitudes. Instead, they’re staying in place – but speeding up their life cycles.

The Duke University-led study, published online Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology, is the first to show that a changing climate may have dual impacts on forests. It adds to a growing body of evidence, including a 2011 study by the same Duke team, that climate-driven migration is occurring much more slowly than predicted, and most plant species may not be able to migrate fast enough to stay one step ahead of rising temperatures.


“Our analysis reveals no consistent, large-scale northward migration is taking place. Instead, most trees are responding through faster turnover – meaning they are staying in place but speeding up their life cycles in response to longer growing seasons and higher temperatures,” said James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Anticipating the impacts of this unexpected change on U.S. forests is an important issue for forest managers and for the nation as a whole, Clark said. It will have far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage.

To test whether trees are migrating northward, having faster turnover, or both, the scientists went through decades of data on 65 dominant tree species in the 31 eastern states, compiled by the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis program. They used computer models to analyze the temperature and precipitation requirements of the trees at different life stages, and also considered factors like reproductive dependence of young and adult trees.

“The patterns we were able to see from this massive study are consistent with forests having faster turnover, where young trees tend to be more abundant than adult trees in warm, wet climates. This pattern is what we would expect to see if populations speed up their life cycle in warming climates,” said lead author Kai Zhu, a doctoral student of Clark’s at Duke. “This is a first sign of climate change impacts, before we see large-scale migrations. It gives a very different picture of how trees are responding to climate change.”

The fact that most trees are not yet showing signs of migration “should increase awareness that there is a significant lag time in how tree species are responding to the changing climate,” Zhu said.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Zhu was supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

Christopher W. Woodall, research forester at the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in St. Paul, Minn., Souparno Ghosh, a postdoctoral researcher in Duke’s Department of Statistical Science, and Alan E. Gelfand, J.B. Duke Professor of Statistics and Decision Sciences in Duke’s Department of Statistical Science, were co-authors of the study. Clark also holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Statistical Science.


Paper:

“Dual Impacts of Climate Change: Forest Migration and Turnover through Life History”
Kai Zhu, Christopher W. Woodall, Souparno Ghosh, Alan E. Gelfand, James S. Clark
Published Sept. 11, 2013, in Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12382
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12382/abstract

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117 Responses to More settled science: Climate change/warming speeds up tree life cycles instead of causing migration

  1. AndyG55 says:

    Um.. maybe plants aren’t migrating, because the climate isn’t actually changing !

    First prove the local climate is changing ! (references to GISS temps not relevant)

  2. AleaJactaEst says:

    what rising temperatures? have these nonsense jockies actually used the same physical temperature data sets we all use that show no statistically relevant warming for 16+ years?

    looks like they didn’t – “They used computer models to analyze the temperature and precipitation requirements of the trees at different life stages, and also considered factors like reproductive dependence of young and adult trees.”

  3. A.D. Everard says:

    Well, maybe it takes 20 years for the trees to pack their bags and get hiking, so they haven’t gotten around to it yet. Or maybe there’s something wrong with the computer models. For some strange reason, I just don’t trust computer models anymore. Not when it comes to climate-whatever-it-is-now, at any rate.

  4. Off topic: Durão Barroso, President of the European Comission, talking about the 99% cientific “consensus”. A must.

  5. Paulc says:

    So the trees are not migrating because temps have not gone up.
    Maybe the reason for the increased activity is purely the increase in CO2.
    Time the mind fix was dropped and the zealots looked at the real world

  6. NeilC says:

    I keep hearing, via BBC science programmes, that this or that scientific paper has shown some effect or other due to rising temperatures. Usually concluding with, climate change, extinction, save the species and need more funding. The odd thing is the research for these papers have all been completed during a period (within 20 years), when the temperature trend in the UK has been in decline. Is this false science or peer reviewed stupidity?

  7. David Chappell says:

    After reading the abstract, I think the authors’ first priority should be to learn to write comprehensible English.

  8. Robin Hewitt says:

    Perhaps they are speeding up their life cycles because of all that delicious CO2 we are pumping, ad gratis, in to their environment.

  9. cynical_scientist says:

    So trees actually like a warmer wetter climate with higher levels of CO2. Who knew?

  10. Greg Goodman says:

    “It adds to a growing body of evidence, including a 2011 study by the same Duke team, that climate-driven migration is occurring much more slowly than predicted, and most plant species may not be able to migrate fast enough to stay one step ahead of rising temperatures.”

    OR in other words, it adds to a growing body of evidence that 0.7 deg/century does not matter a toss to natural systems.

    Not migrating YET. So it’s a forgone conclusion that they will , cos we “know” they will, we just can’t find any actual evidence of that YET. In the mean time we have some new spin that they MAY not be able to cope.

  11. Bob Greene says:

    I didn’t notice them mentioning a time period. It is not a novel result that trees grow faster in warmer weather. I didn’t see in the press release or the abstract that they were considering land management practices and land use, which would certainly confound any studies of species migration.

    Besides, isn’t one of the handwringers for AGW tree growth migration up mountainsides?

  12. Greg Goodman says:

    “The patterns we were able to see from this massive study are consistent with forests having faster turnover, where young trees tend to be more abundant than adult trees in warm, wet climates. This pattern is what we would expect to see if populations speed up their life cycle in warming climates,” said lead author Kai Zhu, a doctoral student of Clark’s at Duke. “This is a first sign of climate change impacts, before we see large-scale migrations. It gives a very different picture of how trees are responding to climate change.”

    WHOA, hold on. You mean plants grow quicker is response to warmth increasing the speed of the chemical processing involved . Wow, Noble candidate, on the way up.

    What?! Plants grow better if they get a little more water. Write to the president , we could revolutionise modern agriculture and feed the world !!

    So he’s a graduate student who’s learnt that you have to spin any facts into global warming if you want your doctorate and to become an accredited “climate scientist” and to get published.

    This man will go far.

  13. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    “Instead, most trees are responding through faster turnover – meaning they are staying in place but speeding up their life cycles in response to longer growing seasons and higher temperatures,” said James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

    It’s almost like trees were some sort of coldblooded life form that can benefit from a bit of extra environmental warmth.

    If only we had someway to possibly verify it, like if tree prevalence dropped off as you got closer to polar regions just as happens with known coldblooded species like lizards and beetles.

    “The patterns we were able to see from this massive study are consistent with forests having faster turnover, where young trees tend to be more abundant than adult trees in warm, wet climates. This pattern is what we would expect to see if populations speed up their life cycle in warming climates,” said lead author Kai Zhu, a doctoral student of Clark’s at Duke.

    As a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, an eastern state, I just take that as a sign of a healthy forest with sufficient resources. You get ten young trees whose combined canopies cover less than a tenth of the area of an old mature tree, thus a healthy competition for survival of the fittest. If the old are more prevalent, if you’d only have one scrawny young tree per one or two old gnarled survivors, I’d wonder why conditions are so poor.

    [Zhu:] “This is a first sign of climate change impacts, before we see large-scale migrations. It gives a very different picture of how trees are responding to climate change.”

    To me it looks like the trees are doing fine and don’t need to migrate elsewhere, but then I won’t lose grant money and a prestigious Phd for saying the truth.

  14. Greg Goodman says:

    Love the spurious claim about “life cycle”. Kindda sounds like they’re dying off at a younger age after having been burnt out by new faster pace of life imposed by “climate change/distruption/weirdness”.

    In fact it appears simply to refer to younger trees growing faster. Astounding.

    Call the UNFCC , we’ve found a replace for Patchuri at last.

  15. Greg Goodman says:

    “The patterns we were able to see from this massive study are consistent with forests having faster turnover”

    Spot the weasel words “consistent with”. Red flag no. 1 for masking false attribution claims. Expect to see the word “robust” somewhere in the conclusion section.

  16. Jimbo says:

    “Our analysis reveals no consistent, large-scale northward migration is taking place. Instead, most trees are responding through faster turnover…..

    Anticipating the impacts of this unexpected change on U.S. forests is an important issue for forest managers and for the nation as a whole,

    Why did it take from 1988 to recent times for researchers to figure this out? Billions of Dollars have been spent on the ‘finest minds’ to find out what is going and yet the story changes………again.

    Summary for Policy Makers: “We messed up on a large scale.” “We really don’t know, but we are 97% sure that something bad is happening due to Co2.”

    What happened further south in the past? Is co2 in fact a plant killer?

    Abstract – Stephanie Pau et. al. – 23 May 2013
    Clouds and temperature drive dynamic changes in tropical flower production
    …..Our results show that temperature, rather than clouds, is critically important to tropical forest flower production. Warmer temperatures increased flower production over seasonal, interannual and longer timescales, contrary to recent evidence that some tropical forests are already near their temperature threshold…..
    doi:10.1038/nclimate1934

    Abstract – James L. Crowley – 12 November 2010
    Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation
    Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago)………eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide,…….
    doi: 10.1126/science.1193833

    Abstract – Carlos Jaramillo et. al. – May 2013
    Global Warming and Neotropical Rainforests: A Historical Perspective
    …Our compilation of 5,998 empirical estimates of temperature over the past 120 Ma indicates that tropics have warmed as much as 7°C during both the mid-Cretaceous and the Paleogene….. The TRF did not collapse during past warmings; on the contrary, its diversity increased. The increase in temperature seems to be a major driver in promoting diversity.
    doi: 10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105403

  17. Old'un says:

    Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees. Unbelievable garbage.

  18. Kon Dealer says:

    This shows that species can adapt by staying put.
    And this is bad news?

  19. Bruce Cobb says:

    This “study” shows one thing at least; that trees are smarter than these “researchers” are.

  20. Alvin says:

    Why are they making the possibility that trees grow faster a bad thing? It’s a bad thing for people that hate the timber industry, as faster growth means the time between replant and harvest is shorter, and a faster ROI. This is the type of report you get from anti-capitalists.

  21. MattN says:

    Don’t tell http://www.thegreengrok.com. Dr. Chimeides will have a coronary…

  22. Jimbo says:

    But what about the rain? The science is settled and we must act now.

    Abstract
    Changes in Climatic Water Balance Drive Downhill Shifts in Plant Species’ Optimum Elevations

    Uphill shifts of species’ distributions in response to historical warming are well documented, which leads to widespread expectations of continued uphill shifts under future warming. Conversely, downhill shifts are often considered anomalous and unrelated to climate change. By comparing the altitudinal distributions of 64 plant species between the 1930s and the present day within California, we show that climate changes have resulted in a significant downward shift in species’ optimum elevations. This downhill shift is counter to what would be expected given 20th-century warming but is readily explained by species’ niche tracking of regional changes in climatic water balance rather than temperature. Similar downhill shifts can be expected to occur where future climate change scenarios project increases in water availability that outpace evaporative demand.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1199040

  23. philjourdan says:

    Well, here’s a thought for those “scientists”. Maybe the faster life cycle is due to the increased CO2 (since it is required by the trees), and maybe the lack of movement is due to the fact that there has not been much warming.

    Sounds like that study is merely proving the data available. In other words, higher CO2, static temperatures.

  24. gaelan clark says:

    Gulp……it’s worse than we thought….forests that were SUPPOSED to live for 1000′s of years are finding their lives cut short due to……climate change.

    These immeasurable impacts will manifest in 5 or 6 hundred years SO WE MUST ACT NOW

  25. Jimbo says:

    USA forests survived the Medieval Warm Period. They either moved uphill, downhill, north or south. I really don’t care but they managed. It’s called adaptation, migration and evolution. Did US vegetation ‘feel’ the 0.7C rise in surface temps when winter and summer temps vary much more wildly over 1 year? The 1930s should have wiped them out.

  26. ddpalmer says:

    “This is a first sign of climate change impacts, before we see large-scale migrations.”

    Or your theories are wrong and we won’t see a large scale migration. Shouldn’t you pay attention to what your own data is telling you rather than speculate on an unproven theory?

  27. John West says:

    It’s almost as if life evolved amidst fluctuating temperatures and readily adjusts as necessary.

  28. Old'un says:

    MattN at 3.48am
    - looked up Greengrok as I had never heard of the site until you mentioned it.

    Dean Chimeides seems to be an alarmist voice crying in the wilderness. His last ten, lengthy, posts generated no less than two comments in total. Presumably Duke feels that he is spending their money wisely but I wonder if U.S. taxpayers do.

  29. Ken Hall says:

    “Species cannot migrate fast enough to stay ahead of temperature changes”

    Or.

    Changes are not happening as fast as they were predicted to by models, so that shows that species are migrating at the rate which suits reality, rather than modelled theory.

    I guess that nobody bothered to show the output from climate models to the trees!

  30. @David Chappell

    „… comprehensible English …”
    I. What does that mean in science?
    II. It is not our fault that the English – as the language of science – has so many drawbacks …

    NeilC and Jimbo said that which is the most important …

    They have to be extremely powerful interferences of external factors in climate to there has been a migration.

    I “will fill” excellent comment Jimbo.
    PETM.
    Carozza (2011, coauthor Gavin A. Schmidt! http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010GL046038.shtml): “For a global average warming of 3°C, a release of CO2 to the ocean and CH4 to the atmosphere totalling 900 to 1400 Pg C …” “To explain the observations, the carbon must have been released over at most 500 years.” “Durations of 50 and 250 years are data‐compatible …; however, only a duration of 50 years is compatible with 3°C of warming [!].”

    So extremely rapid and a huge change! Very strong impact.

    Previous paper by Jaramillo (2010, – 28 coauthors!, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/957.abstract).
    “We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa …”
    “The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to SPECULATIONS that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.

    Even PETM was “too little” to bring about unidirectional migration – depletion of the most important ecosystems …

  31. ………. said lead author Kai Zhu, a doctoral student of Clark’s at Duke. “This is a first sign of climate change impacts, before we see large-scale migrations.”

    HA, the only large-scale migrations those jokers will ever see will be by ducks, geese, caribou, wildebeest, illegal immigrants, etc.

    But the grandchildren of those researchers will never live long enough to see large-scale migrations of trees.

    That is, as long as no one “forces” said migration by transporting seeds and/or seedlings like 30 miles farther northward each year for the next 10 to 15 years, ….. weather (climate) permitting.

    The ranting and delusional denialist,

  32. mike fowle says:

    I like the idea of trees “migrating”. So Birnam Wood does come to Dunsinane.

  33. Ken Hall says:

    So when we skeptics have been claiming, against a barage of critisism and ridicule, that increased CO2 would be good for trees and help them grow faster and bigger, that we were right all along?

    All this study does is prove that the effect of the real changes in climate, (which are stable temperatures for the last 2 decades), aligned with a continuous increase in CO2, leads to faster tree growth.

    In other words, CO2 is NOT driving temperatures and CO2 IS plant food after all, as we all knew from science 101 in school

    That is precisley what this study shows.

  34. i actually have been there on a class trip

  35. MJB says:

    To expand on Bob Greene’s comment about landuse – forest dynamics, influence of past harvesting, insects and pathogens, exclusion of fire, etc must be controlled for to reach any reasonable conclusion. It is not clear if that has been done here.
    The forest harvesting history on these sites really needs to be considered. Until the last couple decades, typical harvesting was implemented as “thinning from above”. This basically meant a highgrade where the best trees were taken and the worst were left. This is often implemented as a diameter limit cut where all trees over a specified diameter were cut leaving the little ones. Further, the return harvesting cycle on the same site was often faster than the rate of regrowth, putting further downward pressure on average size. The legacy of this practice would tend to create more small trees as they filled in the space made by taking out the bigger ones. Forest health issues can have the same effect with American chestnut, Elm, and other species having been nearly eliminated, other smaller trees have taken there place.
    Finally, I have a hard time understanding how they did this for individual species when we know species grow together and influence each other. Some species grow faster than others and tend to dominate, forcing subordinates into the mid-canopy and understory where they receive less light and tend to stay smaller. As the original dominating tree gets old and dies the subordinate grows quickly to fill in the space. This natural succession is a very long term process and it is reasonable to assume there is still some influence of colonial land clearing and ship mast harvesting on the successional status.
    I could go on and talk about exclusion of forest fires and so on but it seems to me they set out hoping to find species migration, and then tried to salvage something for the poor fellows PhD without giving it enough thought. There are so many other factors to explain these changes that to single out a minute change in climate seems dishonest. If it wasn’t paywalled perhaps I could give it a more fair reading.

  36. NotAGolfer says:

    The “pause” has been a lot longer than 17 years. The previous 80 years of “warming” is all due to data manipulation, “adjusting” and “homogenizing” older data so that it looks colder than it really was. “Scientists” have created a mess for themselves. By tampering with temperature data, and then trying to relate observations to this bad data, they’ve precluded any real science or conclusions.

  37. Joe says:

    So (assuing for the sake of arguent that climate change is happening at a greater rate than it always hats), trees are staying put and adapting quite nicely thank you, rather than running for the hills in panic.

    Gosh, Nature is just full of surprises isn’t she?

  38. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Samuel C Cogar on September 12, 2013 at 5:05 am:

    That is, as long as no one “forces” said migration by transporting seeds and/or seedlings like 30 miles farther northward each year for the next 10 to 15 years, ….. weather (climate) permitting.

    As one who has been amazed at how many maple tree “helicopter” seed-things can accumulate in assorted vehicle nooks and crannies, I am certain maple tree seeds have been regularly transported 30 miles further northward for at least the past hundred years, most likely far longer. Likewise acorns and pine cones, which fall into truck and wagon beds. Don’t forget fruit trees, with discarded apple and pear cores, peach pits, etc.

    If it was favorable to grow those trees up north, they would be growing there already.

    Which makes me think these tree migrations haven’t started simply because they can’t survive where they’re supposed to be going, thus they haven’t left.

  39. John R T says:

    Self-congratulatory, “… this massive study …”
    ‘Before,’ a looooong time before – as in ages, eras, and epochs –
    Yes, Duke, before we see climate-induced migration, we see larger portions of healthy juveniles in 80% of studied species, given warmer environment and improved nutrition. Welcome news.
    My question, w/o reading the paper: does the study address age-distribution changes due to harvesting mature trees for homes, furniture, toys, and such?
    ….
    Anthony, Thank you for a humorous start to my day.
    – John Moore

  40. Gary Pearse says:

    ” Zhu was supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.” My goodness, in my day you had to improve your own dissertation without a grant and maybe have been shown the door if it needed too much improvement.

    This is unbelievable dreck. We’ve had 18 years of warming followed by 17 years of no warming to cooling. The trees live to be hundreds of years old. How can you have expected measurable migration. The pine cones drop a few metres away from the trunk. It would only be the northern fringe trees that would indicate any migration northwards with some sign of decline on the southern fringe. Did they note that the southern fringe is all old trees and the young aren’t developing too well and the northern fringe is overwhelmed with young trees and the older ones are standing pat?

    Ya know, I think the growing scientific illiteracy of students going into these programs is a serious problem. They are going to have to establish a chair in logic in science to give a guiding hand to these PhD candidates and their scientifically illiterate professors (at Duke, I nominate rgb@duke for the job). Even the NSF feels the need for dissertation improvement (or maybe it is like the cultural revolution in China where “wrong thinking” citizens needed their thinking reworked) I haven’t read the paper but I’m sure they didn’t do the test I suggest should have been done (heck, I’m only an engineer/geologist).

  41. ferd berple says:

    the reason the trees are not migrating in the study area is because there has been no significant warming in the eastern US for 100 years. global warming is not global.

  42. Gail Combs says:

    AndyG55 says:
    September 12, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Um.. maybe plants aren’t migrating, because the climate isn’t actually changing!…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    My first thoughts exactly.

    I guess this ‘Biologists’ never heard of the Köppen climate classification system.

    Köppen climate classification, widely used, vegetation-based empirical climate classification system developed by German botanist-climatologist Wladimir Köppen. His aim was to devise formulas that would define climatic boundaries in such a way as to correspond to those of the vegetation zones (biomes) that were being mapped for the first time during his lifetime. Köppen published his first scheme in 1900 and a revised version in 1918. He continued to revise his system of classification until his death in 1940. Other climatologists have modified portions of Köppen’s procedure on the basis of their experience in various parts of the world…..

    This MAP of movement of the Köppen climatic boundaries in the midwest shows why these ‘Biologists’ is having such a tough time in seeing movements in the eastern states. The 1900, 1930 and 1950 decadal boundries were further north than the boundaries for the 1990 decade which is sitting pretty much in the center for the 20th century.

    This is verified independently by this chart from Jo Nova showing how GISS (Hansen) ‘ADJUSTED’ the temperature data to hide what the plants are telling us. Comparison of 1980, 1987 and 2007 Global Surface Temperature Graphs

    Of course to keep up Hansen’s and the IPCC’s fictional representation of the earth’s climate, trees have to take the rap for not showing what isn’t there. To question the gospel of the Church of CAGW of course would be unthinkable.

    Credibility of scientists takes another nosedive.

    (Mod.s Since I can not show these graphs in comments, it would really be nice to put these two maps right under the article for all to see. One is from Jo Nova and the other of Köppen climatic boundaries, from the Pompous Git.)

  43. Gary Pearse says:

    The ambiguity is also most annoying. Is it a good or bad thing for the older trees to be growing faster. If migration is a problem, then get out the weed wackers and let’s mitigate one time right now. If slowness is a problem let’s load up the cones and head north and cut the south for firewood. Oh they are already doing that – shipping southern wood to UK to burn to prevent climate change! We need a vaccine for this craziness.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22630815

  44. ferd berple says:

    “they are staying in place but speeding up their life cycles”

    Ah, I understand the author’s confusion. What they are talking about aren’t trees at all. What they have been researching are Ents. They look like trees but are able to move from place to place. Trees on the other hand always stay in place except maybe in Disney cartoons. An understandable mistake.

  45. TimTheToolMan says:

    “Nearly 80 percent of the species aren’t yet shifting their geographic distributions to higher latitudes. Instead, they’re staying in place – but speeding up their life cycles.”

    Kinda makes you wonder about their fundamental assumption that trees at the tree line respond primarily to temperature over other factors.

  46. Coach Springer says:

    Perhaps the trees are waiting to see if it’s a temporary cyclical anomaly or something real. In which case, that would be empirical evidence that warmists aren’t as smart as wood.

  47. Pamela Gray says:

    This paper demonstrates nothing. They used a model of tree growth driven by data obtained from the US department of Forestry and temperature data. There was no attempt to compare the model to what is actually happening in the forests these trees appear in. No feet touched the soil of a forest among the authors. The conclusions are unsupportable. A crap paper hidden behind a paywall. I think I am just going to stop paying taxes. And if the government asks me why I will tell them I don’t give money to thiefs. Do the tree huggers even hug trees anymore???? Apparently not. So much for caring about the forests. So what are they hugging these days? Computers with pretty wallpaper of photoshopped trees. Idiots.

  48. Gail Combs says:

    What is also left out of this study is that most of the US forests on the East Coast were cut down and have only recently been reforested thanks to coal, modern agricultural techniques and modern transportation.

    Just walk through a North East ‘Forest’ and see how many stone walls you find.

    Also as with other crops trees that are planted by man are subject to man’s tinkering with breeding programs and importation.

    Don’t universities teach ANYTHING useful these days?

  49. Catcracking says:

    Unfortunately we are spending enormous taxpayers dollars to fund this nonsense the results of which are obvious even to the average person with common sense. The country needs to put these folks to useful work that will add the economy instead of being a drain on the economy .
    Of course the administration has mastered the tactic of spreading your dollars to buy support from the masses. It is no different than garnering support by expanding food stamps and giving Obama cell phones

  50. oldgamer56 says:

    I think the author watched “The Two Towers” too many times. The papers lead in evokes the image of trees physically moving. New Road sign “Warning, Tree Crossing”. Plus I think they confuse the natural expansion of the range of species when conditions are favorable vs a forced loss of range due to unfavorable conditions. I see nowhere do they document any loss of range solely due to changed climate conditions.

    As for the speeding up of growth, perhaps trees have actually been surviving on marginal conditions and the increase in CO2 is actually providing them with more fuel to grow to their potential. Similar to children that have been on a substandard diet and finally begin to receive more of the nutrition their body can use.

  51. SasjaL says:

    Their logic is somewhat backwards, because of predetermined assumptions. They assume that plants are migrating north to escape increased heat, when it really is that conditions have improved for the species.

    Also, they do not seem to have realized that plants generally grow faster, the closer to the equator they are …

  52. Gail Combs says:

    These guys also missed Chestnut Blight, Elm Disease, Ash Decline and the new Hickory problems showing up in Tennessee, not to mention hardwoods are planted for the benefit of your grandkids not you. If you know your kids (and thus grandkids) are not interested in farming why bother planting hardwoods? The softwoods are going to be more profitable.

  53. dp says:

    I don’t suppose they might conclude that trees are not bothered by 1.2º change over 100 years, having it in their genes to ride out these natural variations because the more important factors: impotent pests, water, nutrients, weather, tree-friendly flora and fauna are abundant.

    And maybe the seed spreading mechanism is another thing they don’t understand about trees. Viable seeds have to be spread and they have to come to rest in a viable location. A warmer or cooler location that is pest-free or have adequate sun or non-competing trees and shrubbery may or may not be close by in terms of the range of seed spreaders. I mean, how far is a seed going to go in the gut of a chipmunk or bird that is happy where it is?

  54. Dr. Deanster says:

    This is an unbelievable example of just how inept our Academic Environment has become. It seems NOBODY in Academia is willing to ask the hard questions anymore.

    I look at this abstract and immediately several questions come to mind. First, what impact has logging had on tree populations in the studies areas? Second, what data do you have that shows that the tree’s “cycle” has indeed sped up? It would seem to me that you would have to show a repeated measures graph over time showing an increase in seedlings over time to show an acceleration in cycle. Is there increased rate of tree growth?? .. though they “claim” there is, I don’t see any analysis on actual tree growth, just population analysis.

    And .. then of course, .. the catch phrase that will ensure that this paper gets included into Cook’s next bogus consensus paper … just mention “climate change” .. even though not one shred of evidence, no data points, not even any of the methodology is associated with assessing the impact of climate or climate change on the tree populations.

    This .. folks ..is why I left Academia. It is full of dumbasses who politics off as sound knowledge. Pathetic.

  55. ferd berple says:

    Gail Combs says:
    September 12, 2013 at 6:01 am
    http://www.sturmsoft.com/climate/suckling_mitchell_2000_fig2_3.gif
    This MAP of movement of the Köppen climatic boundaries in the midwest shows why these ‘Biologists’ is having such a tough time in seeing movements in the eastern states.
    =================

    “this suggests a lack of evidence for any systematic wintertime warming in the central United States that might be anticipated under a global-warming scenario.”

    Suckling, P.W. and Mitchell, M.D. 2000. Variation of the Koppen C/D climate boundary in the central United States during the 20th century. Physical Geography 21: 38-45.

  56. Barry Cullen says:

    Greg Goodman says:
    September 12, 2013 at 2:53 am
    …..”Not migrating YET. So it’s a forgone conclusion that they will , cos we “know” they will, we just can’t find any actual evidence of that YET. In the mean time we have some new spin that they MAY not be able to cope.”
    Missing last sentence – So, send more money to allow us to study this serious and potentially devastating development further.

  57. darrylb says:

    After just reading Pamela’s Gray’s comment —”no feet touched the soil” which I can only assume is true; and that after reading something of a massive study, I actually felt deflated. Scientific study (at times) seems to be becoming a digital armchair activity. No accounting for unknown unknown’s. Sad!

  58. jbird says:

    “The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Zhu was supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.”

    That little paragraph tells you all you need to know. The NSF has been funding this garbage for some time. They are thoroughly politicized, and they thoroughly politicize the “studies” they fund. Hey, anyway you can get your dissertation paid for, right?

  59. Richard M says:

    Without the climate change alarmism the conclusion of this article would be … plants are returning to their normal rates of growth after being suppressed due to low levels of CO2 the last few million years.

  60. Gail Combs says:

    ferd berple says: @ September 12, 2013 at 6:13 am
    …Trees on the other hand always stay in place except maybe in Disney cartoons. An understandable mistake.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    OR the tree in The Minnesotans For Global Warming Song “Hide The Decline II” (If I had a Mann with an ax chasing me I would run too.)

  61. ferd berple says:

    dp says:
    September 12, 2013 at 6:29 am
    And maybe the seed spreading mechanism is another thing they don’t understand about trees.
    ===========
    for example, the response of seeds to fire. fire opens up new areas for growth in the forest, so some species of seeds simply lie dormant until then.

    this suggests that seeds maybe smarter than the researcher that are studying them.

    Climate change has many parallels with fire suppression. We were taught that forest fires were bad. Yet new it is known that many species of plants are adapted to fire and need fires as part of their life cycle. Fire suppression harms these plants and the animals that rely on them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ecology

    Similarly, we are taught that climate change is bad. Yet climate change has been going on for millions of years, so it seems likely that there will be species of plants and animals that rely on climate change for their survival. It seems likely that we will discover that efforts to suppress climate change are as harmful to those species as fire suppression is to fire adapted species.

  62. OldWeirdHarold says:

    Wait till the Ents wake up. then Canada’s in for it.

  63. Chip Javert says:

    How do these people get funding for “settled science” that (apparently) 97% of scientists already know? Didn’t they get the team memo?

  64. Gail Combs says:

    Catcracking says: @ September 12, 2013 at 6:21 am
    …. Of course the administration has mastered the tactic of spreading your dollars to buy support from the masses. It is no different than garnering support by expanding food stamps and giving Obama cell phones.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That tactic was known by the Fabians from the start.
    “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”Fabian co-founder, George Bernard Shaw

    It explains the rapid growth of government giveaway programs. Once you have ‘bought’ close to half the population with bread, circuses or jobs you are in control. Of course you have also managed to kill off the host (the Peters) who will then join the Paul’s until the civilization/country collapses.

    The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. Scottish historian Alexander Tytler set forth a cycle that every democracy goes through.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

    Alexander Tytler Cycle:

    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to selfishness;
    From selfishness to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.

    With luck, the internet and people like Anthony Watts, maybe we can short circuit that typical cycle.

  65. Gail Combs says:

    oldgamer56 says: @ September 12, 2013 at 6:27 am
    …As for the speeding up of growth, perhaps trees have actually been surviving on marginal conditions and the increase in CO2 is actually providing them with more fuel to grow to their potential….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    That is what this study indicates:

    Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits, southern California.

    ABSTRACT
    The Rancho La Brea tar pit fossil collection includes Juniperus (C3) wood specimens that 14C date between 7.7 and 55 thousand years (kyr) B.P., providing a constrained record of plant response for southern California during the last glacial period. Atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) ranged between 180 and 220 ppm during glacial periods, rose to approximately 280 ppm before the industrial period, and is currently approaching 380 ppm in the modern atmosphere. Here we report on delta13C of Juniperus wood cellulose, and show that glacial and modern trees were operating at similar leaf-intercellular [CO2](ci)/atmospheric [CO2](ca) values. As a result, glacial trees were operating at ci values much closer to the CO2-compensation point for C3 photosynthesis than modern trees, indicating that glacial trees were undergoing carbon starvation. In addition, we modeled relative humidity by using delta18O of cellulose from the same Juniperus specimens and found that glacial humidity was approximately 10% higher than that in modern times, indicating that differences in vapor-pressure deficits did not impose additional constrictions on ci/ca in the past. By scaling ancient ci values to plant growth by using modern relationships, we found evidence that C3 primary productivity was greatly diminished in southern California during the last glacial period.

    BURN COAL, FEED A TREE!

  66. Steve Keohane says:

    The fact that most trees are not yet showing signs of migration “should increase awareness that there is a significant lag time in how tree species are responding to the changing climate,” Zhu said.
    Or the ‘changing climate’ is fantasy…

  67. G. Karst says:

    Hmmmm, so the trees are in a state of denial. Those trees that do not uproot and move should be burnt as denialists. Paper manufactured from their cellulose should not be used, as it is a denialist, head in the sand, publishing material, used to kill our great grandchildren. GK

  68. mark wagner says:

    I call BS.

    Let’s accept for just a minute that the climate IS changing. Let’s also assume that it’s been changing rapidly since 1979. Even so…

    The degree of temperature change from “here” to 100 yards “over there” across, let’s see… 30 years of global warming, is miniscule. There is no way to measure that small amount of temperature change. The life cycle of trees is so long that there is no meaningful way to measure any “migration” of the trees over such a short period. There are no controls for “maybe it’s a little wetter ‘over there.’” Or maybe the fertilizer is better “over there.” Or that side of the hill “over there” has more sunshine. Or probably a dozen more things I haven’t thought of yet.

    There is absolutely no way to correlate any supposed “migration” to the non-measurable temperature change “over there.” None.

  69. Gail Combs says:

    ferd berple says….
    Thanks Ferd, I am updating my files with the additional info.

  70. michael hart says:

    Their problem is that climate models are even worse at regional predictions than they are at global ones. So they don’t know which populations they would expect to move.

    Also, though not specifically mentioned in the abstract, if CO2 is as well mixed as is claimed, then the beneficial effects of increased CO2 will apply at all locations.

  71. bit chilly says:

    yet another paper with modeled outcomes not based on observation but what should happen if there was sufficient warming ,which there is not. the only thing worth noting in the paper is it reiterates how good more co2 is for trees.

    there are obviously many intilectual heavy hitters that post on this blog and many others sceptical of cAGW,surely as well as posting comment here,all the comments and some questions should be mailed to the team that produced the paper.
    i believe that currently many of these people are operating in a bubble where they never receive any negative critique of their work.
    if there was wide scale questioning of as many unsound papers as possible from a variety of people every single time they produce papers like this,surely they may begin to wake up to the fact that people other than indoctrinated climate scientists are reading this rubbish and tearing it to bits .
    to be fair,recent experience tells me they may not be inclined to reply ,but a constant barrage of emails highlighting the obvious errors would surely have some sort of impact .

  72. OldWeirdHarold says:

    Let’s not forget the other anthropogenic plant food – NOx.

  73. Gail Combs says:

    ferd berple says: @ September 12, 2013 at 6:56 am
    ….this suggests that seeds maybe smarter than the researcher that are studying them.

    …Similarly, we are taught that climate change is bad. Yet climate change has been going on for millions of years, so it seems likely that there will be species of plants and animals that rely on climate change for their survival. It seems likely that we will discover that efforts to suppress climate change are as harmful to those species as fire suppression is to fire adapted species.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    McClenney mentions that concept applied to humans in this comment

    An examination of the fossil record indicates that the key junctures in hominin evolution reported nowadays at 2.6, 1.8 and 1 Ma coincide with 400 kyr eccentricity maxima, which suggests that periods with enhanced speciation and extinction events coincided with periods of maximum climate variability on high moisture levels.”

    Trends, rhythms and events in Plio-Pleistocene African climate

    Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (2009) 399–411”

    [ http://www.manfredmudelsee.com/publ/pdf/Trends-rhythms-and-events-in-Plio-Pleistocene-African-climate.pdf ]

    In a BBC comment he says:
    “…In the final analysis, while I watch the comical adherence to impossible to prove model predictions I find myself thinking what we really need is another ice age. It is the only thing known to smarten members of the genus homo up…..”

    Maybe he is correct.

  74. tty says:

    These people suffer from a common delusion of ”climate scientists”, i e that climate and vegetation is and must be in equilibrum. Occasionally they might be, but mostly they are not. The reason is that trees migrate rather slowly, on the order of a few kilometers per year, while climate often changes very much faster.
    Take the Preboreal stage early in the current interglacial. For many years it was thought that this was a rather cool interval in northern Europe, since the flora was dominated by pine and birch and boreal herbs. Then somebody got the bright idea to check the altitude of the tree-line. It was higher in the Preboreal, immediately after the end of the ice age than it has ever been since! Temperatures must have been at least 2-3 degrees centigrade warmer than now. However all the temperate deciduous trees, oak, elm, lime, beech etc that ought to have grown up here were still on their way north from their ice-age refuges down near the Mediterranean and only arrived a couple of thousand years later, when temperatures were already declining (hazel got a head start, probably because it was spread by humans who liked filbert nuts).
    Did the pine and birch suffer badly from having to grow in such a warm climate? Apparently not, they grew everywhere including in places where they have never grown since.
    The real threat to tree diversity is cold (=ice ages), not heat. A couple of million years ago Europe had almost as many tree species as North America has, Redwoods, Douglas Firs, Baldcypress, Sweet Gums, Hackberries, Laurels, Hickories and many others, they all grew in Europe then and they are all gone now. There are only a few dozen tree species left that occur naturally in Europe today.
    Almost every interglacial one species or another that occurred during the previous interglacial goes missing because the cold killed it off even in its last remaining refuge somewhere down in the Mediterranean Basin or Transcaucasus.
    Also it should be noted that not all tree species do respond to a warmer climate during interglacial by expanding. During the previous (Eemian) interglacial beech (Fagus silvatica) never reached Northern Europe, though it is common there in this interglacial. On the other hand Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika) was widespread, particularly late in the interglacial, while this time around it has stayed put on about 100 acres on a few mountain tops in Serbia. Why? Nobody knows.

  75. Craig Loehle says:

    Clark and his team are pretty thorough and clever. The conclusions he draws are not the only conclusions possible from his data, however. There are also some confounding of variables. No time to get into it right now, just mentioning it. In brief, his data also indicate that forests are likely to respond only slowly to warming and without dieback, even though he draws alarming conclusions about inability to migrate. In an earlier paper he in fact showed that trees respond more to competition than to warming.

  76. Chuck Nolan says:

    Nearly 80 percent of the species aren’t yet shifting their geographic distributions to higher latitudes. Instead, they’re staying in place – but speeding up their life cycles.
    —————————————————————
    I follow them on the nearly 80% trees and their finding that the trees are not moving away from the unbearable heat like they’re supposed to.
    Although, there’s not much information about the 20+% that are “shifting their geographic distributions to higher latitudes”.
    Which tree species are they?
    Are they “speeding up their life cycles” and still moving?
    Oh noes, it must be worse than they thought, again, still, some more, whatever.
    So, I wonder what’s going on with the movers.
    Sadly, trees just will not cooperate.
    I wonder if anybody on this research team can see it?
    They just want to make like a tree and leave.
    Oh the ironing.
    cn

  77. John Marshall says:

    The best example I know for growing, no, thriving out of area is the Silver Birch which is a tundra tree growing fairly low more like a shrub than a tree but in the temperate UK it thrives to heights of 60ft or more.
    Water is far more important than temperature for trees, indeed plants in general.

  78. Gail Combs says:

    Chip Javert says: @ September 12, 2013 at 6:58 am

    How do these people get funding for “settled science” that (apparently) 97% of scientists already know?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    They have to keep grinding out more and more ‘pal-reviewed’ papers with scarier and scarier ‘Science’ to feed the MSM propaganda machine.

    “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.” – Leading greenhouse advocate, Dr Stephen Schneider
    ( in interview for “Discover” magagzine, Oct 1989)

    Dr Stephen Schneider is perhaps the most media-exposed Greenhouse expert, having developed a charismatic speaking style, complemented by his 1970s good looks, and penchant for extravagant claims about impending environmental disaster.

    For example, in a TV interview in 1990 to Britain’s Channel 4, he remarked -

    “The rate of change is so fast that I don’t hesitate to call it potentially catastrophic for ecosystems.”

    Such a comment was quite wrong, climatically speaking, and blatantly alarmist….
    http://www.john-daly.com/schneidr.htm

  79. Steven Mosher says:

    AndyG55 says:
    September 12, 2013 at 1:23 am
    Um.. maybe plants aren’t migrating, because the climate isn’t actually changing !

    First prove the local climate is changing ! (references to GISS temps not relevant)

    ################

    the forest management folks and the USDA typically dont use GISS data. In some cases they will use proprietary data which you have to pay to get your hands on.

    Psst. It is warming.

  80. tty says:

    “This downhill shift is counter to what would be expected given 20th-century warming but is readily explained by species’ niche tracking of regional changes in climatic water balance rather than temperature. Similar downhill shifts can be expected to occur where future climate change scenarios project increases in water availability that outpace evaporative demand.”
    That is one of the most outrageously ignorant statements I’ve ever encountered in an academic paper Have these people not the slightest idea about dryland ecology? Orographic rain? Have they never noticed that in the dry southwest the forest “islands in the sky” have treelines both at the top and the bottom? At the top it consists of cold-tolerant trees like spruce and aspen, at the bottom of drought-tolerant pinyons.
    If it grows warmer the top treeline will rise, if it grows wetter the lower treeline will go down. If it grows warmer and wetter the forest will grow both at the top and bottom, if it grows colder and drier it will similarly shrink at both ends.

  81. Reiterating what MJB said above, did the authors consider the impact of forestry or the American chestnut pandemic? American chestnuts used to make up as much as 25% of eastern hardwood forests but they were wiped out between 1905 and 1940. That plus any kind of intelligent forest management should eliminate the larger trees, leaving room for new trees–which the abstract suggests is what the authors found.

    I don’t subscribe to wiley… has anybody read the actual study to determine whether they control for blight/forestry in their research?

  82. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “Tree rings make terrible thermometers” we already knew that.

    Steven Mosher says, ” the forest management folks and the USDA typically dont use GISS data. In some cases they will use proprietary data which you have to pay to get your hands on.

    Psst. It is warming.”

    First of all, perhaps the forest management folks and the USDA typically don’t use GISS data because (A) GISS data is terrible and has been manipulated all to hell, and (B) GISS data doesn’t apply to any localized climates in any meaningful way, so it would make perfect sense not to use it.

    Secondly, as far as Pss. It is warming…. since when? Hasn’t warmed significantly in the past 17 years, so… of course, from 1979 to 1997 it certainly was, but since then… not so much.

  83. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    At Duke University, at the Nicholas School of the Environment, James S. Clark, has his own lab with its own web page, The Clark Lab. Clark’s bio lists him as a Professor of Statistics, no idea if he’s studied the Mannian Methods of Statistical Sophistry.

    Apparently they’re upset that data is collected regionally and they want to know things individually (per tree, per forest?) to clearly see the readily-evident climate change signal, which the individual trees aren’t showing, which is leading them to create scalable forest models that will easily tell them what must be happening in the real world, which will be validated when the models clearly irrefutably prove the climate change signal is as bad as they thought it was, if not worse.

    Or something like that.

    “Climate change is rapidly transforming forests over much of the globe in ways that are not anticipated by current science. Large-scale forest diebacks, apparently linked to interactions involving drought, warm winters, and other species, are becoming alarmingly frequent.”

    Gee, the largest “diebacks” I’m aware of is the destroying of old growth forests so they can replace them with plantations of biofuel crops, which is becoming alarmingly frequent.

    Interesting page to read, if you like entire pages worded with thick jargon that sound like an extended funding proposal being sent to the grant review board of an eco-charity that’s so loaded with celebrities you could fail a drug test after shaking hands with only half of them. “Wow, says ‘climate’, lots of words bigger than ten letters, must be important.”

    At the bottom, they worry about “Animal movement and demography.” See the pic of the cute seal, doomed to an early miserable death because meddling humans decided to mount an ugly tracking device to its skull, keeping it from feeling the expected smooth flow of water across its scalp when swimming. You can also tell how to a fellow colorblind animal it looks like a large splotchy growth, so it ain’t getting any seal nooky either. Savages.

  84. tty says:

    mark wagner says:
    There is no way to measure that small amount of temperature change. The life cycle of trees is so long that there is no meaningful way to measure any “migration” of the trees over such a short period.

    Not true. It would be noticeable at the tree-line. There a seedling will only survive if there are several good (=unusuallyt warm) years in a row, so the run of warm years in the last couple of decades will mean that more seedlings than usual has survived, densing up the forest and probably extending it by a few hundred meters. Also many “trees” that have survived in a creeping form will “rear up” and become real trees. On the other hand a few bad years (like the last fcouple of winters) can wipe out much of this new growth. Both effects are noticeable in northern Scandinavia.

  85. Gail Combs says:

    Steven Mosher says: @ September 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    ….Psst. It is warming.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    In comparison to WHAT, the little Ice Age, the Wisconsin Glaciation, the 1960s and 1970′s?

    No one here denies that it has warmed and few deny that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, however after suffering from frost bite on a few occasions during the 1960s and 1970s I much prefer it warmer. A lot warmer which is why when given the chance I left New England and headed for the sunny south.

    And I find it quite interesting that researchers are privy to data sets the general public is not allowed to see despite the fact tax payers PAID FOR THE DATA and it continues TO THIS DAY!.

    09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

    Mike, I presume congratulations are in order – so congrats etc !

    Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that…..

    this confession to John Christy:

    If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish.

    Cheers, Phil
    link

  86. philjourdan says:

    @John West – I guess that is why homo sapiens have the ability to sweat.

  87. Marcos says:

    so in other words, “increased CO2 makes trees grow faster”

    where’s my grant money?!

  88. JPeden says:

    Manuel Graça says:September 12, 2013 at 1:52 am

    “Off topic: Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, talking about the 99% scientific “consensus”. A must.”

    Seconded!!

  89. Ben of Houston says:

    It’s frustrating that they threw all this effort into the study and then muddied it up with the assumption that trees must migrate to survive and that they will migrate in the future. Both of those are clearly not supported by the evidence. What they can say is that at this point in time, no northward or upward migration is apparent.

    That’s like grilling a nice, sirloin steak and then slathering it with ketchup.

  90. StephenP says:

    Condider Pinus radiata, Monterey pine, which is the main commercial timber tree grown in New Zealand.
    New Zealand is warm and wet, and must be experiencing the same CO2 level as the rest of the world.
    They get phenomenal growth rates, with tree rings up to 2 or 3 inches per year in the North Island, and a turn-round time of 28 to 30 years for a crop.
    Thus they are already experiencing ‘global warming’, and seeing the effect on tree growth.
    Much of their commercial forestry is a monoculture, so no wonder they are paranoid anout keeping tree diseases out of their country.

  91. Luther Wu says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    September 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Psst. It is warming.
    ________________________
    Psst… prove it. Sometimes, we think better of you, Steven and then you say something like that.

  92. John R T says:

    Gary Pearse says: September 12, 2013 at 5:54 am This is unbelievable dreck.
    “… establish a chair in logic in science to give a guiding hand to these PhD candidates and their scientifically illiterate professors /
    ++
    / (at Duke, I nominate rgb@duke for the job).”
    Wm. Briggs is my suggestion, but how to tear him away from the Big Apple.

  93. Taxed to death says:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022977. This report shows the same garbage is being used to dictate reforestation policy in Alberta, Canada. Scientist want to move seed adapted from their place of origin to new areas outside the adapted range based on anticipation of climate change. I see huge reforestation failures in the not to distant future based on this psuedo-science. Every forester in Alberta better be concerned and voice disapproval regarding this policy.

  94. Gail Combs says:

    Taxed to death says: @ September 12, 2013 at 10:08 am

    …. This report shows the same garbage is being used to dictate reforestation policy in Alberta… I see huge reforestation failures in the not to distant future based on this psuedo-science. Every forester in Alberta better be concerned and voice disapproval regarding this policy.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Looks like a full time employment/tax payer waste of money so do not expect much help from those who know which side their pay check comes from.

    The commercial types on the other hand, that are not getting a government handout, will plant logically and hope to reap the benefits of the failures caused by those who follow the latest ‘Fashion’

    Ain’t Politics grand?

  95. Louis says:

    “climate-driven migration is occurring much more slowly than predicted”

    Global warming is also occurring much more slowly than predicted, so what’s the problem?

  96. StephenP says:
    September 12, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Tree growth has increased around the world not because of “warming” but from the beneficial effect of higher CO2 levels.

  97. Steven Mosher says:
    September 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    It is not warming compared to the late ’90s. It is warmer than in the late ’60s & early ’70s. It is not warming compared to the 1930s. It is warming compared to the Little Ice Age. It is not warming compared to the Medieval Warm Period. It is warming compared to the Dark Ages Cold Period. It is not warming compared to the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period or the Holocene Climatic Optimum. It is warmer than the Wisconsin Glaciation, but it is especially not warming compared to the Eemian Interglacial.

    To the extent that it is warming, it’s natural. Humans have far less power than you imagine.

  98. mark wagner says:

    tty says: “There a seedling will only survive if there are several good (=unusuallyt warm) years in a row”

    Mark replies: we’re talking max a few tenths of one degree here. I seriously doubt that small temperature difference makes a difference to the seedlings.

  99. GlynnMhor says:

    Al Gore would fit well with this role as emperor:

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=1612#comic

  100. oldgamer56 says:

    September 12, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I think the author watched “The Two Towers” too many times. The papers lead in evokes the image of trees physically moving. New Road sign “Warning, Tree Crossing”.

    I’ve seen “Heavy plant crossing”.

  101. TomB says:

    Bob Greene says:
    September 12, 2013 at 2:56 am

    …..Besides, isn’t one of the handwringers for AGW tree growth migration up mountainsides?

    So, yet another failed prediction?

  102. AndyG55 says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    Psst. It is warming.

    1. BS. !!! It is NOT warming. It has be stationary for about 17 years.

    2. And THANK GOODNESS it has generally warmed since the LIA.

    The world be in a right pickle if it hadn’t !!!

  103. SasjaL says:

    Manuel Graça on September 12, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Durão Barroso, one of the most corrupt persons in Europe …

  104. Tim Clark says:

    ” meaning they are staying in place but speeding up their life cycles in response to longer growing seasons and higher temperatures,”

    Interpretation: They are growing faster, bigger and better.
    Sheesh

  105. @njsnowfan says:

    C02 chart in link, Plants love the stuff up to 2,000 ppm. Plants and trees are growing faster in last 50 years and that must be making the gardeners happy but not the land lords.

    http://www.hydrofarm.com/resources/articles/co2_enrichment.php

  106. 1sky1 says:

    The intriguing question that arises from this research is: Are trees are smarter than “climate scientists?”

  107. JPeden says:

    “Nearly 80 percent of the species aren’t yet shifting their geographic distributions to higher latitudes. Instead, they’re staying in place – but speeding up their life cycles.”

    What was really startling, the study indicated, is that instead of migrating to the temporary safety of higher altitudes and latitudes before a final extinction caused by a universally warming world, many tree species have apparently chosen to make a “last stand” right where they stood!

    The study also makes clear why it is so important to hug a tree whenever we can. For The Sacred Warming Models have revealed to us an even higher Treenobleness which demands our respect and support, not to forget that Social Justice has its own Categorical Imperative requiring our reciprocal action in order to help our new found brothers, sisters, and transgenders, in our common struggle to maintain the Equality and Fairness of a stable, unchanging Universe against the encroachment and Final Destruction as engineered by the Koch Bros and other Capitalist Imperialists and their rampaging Tropics.
    Or as YAD06 has resolutely communicated to its forest children via its Holy Rings, “Hear me, my small trees. From where the Sun now sets I will move no more Forever.”

  108. Luther Wu says:

    Wandering Willows, Nomadic Nutmegs, Eloping Elms, Marathon Maples, Running Redwoods, Pedestrian Pecans, Trekking Tamaracks, Skip- To- My- Lou Spruces…

  109. tolip ydob (There is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane) says:

    It’s too bad plants don’t have more genes to compensate for their lack of mobility.

    Oh wait…

  110. JPeden says:

    @njsnowfan says:
    September 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    C02 chart in link, Plants love the stuff up to 2,000 ppm. Plants and trees are growing faster in last 50 years and that must be making the gardeners happy but not the land lords.

    http://www.hydrofarm.com/resources/articles/co2_enrichment.php

    One nitpick from the very informative link, in the interests of counteracting the “CO2 is a pollutant/toxin” meme:
    “Above 2,000 PPM, CO2 starts to become toxic to plants and above 4,000 PPM it becomes toxic to people.”
    That’s wrong about the toxicity of CO2 to people. 4,000 ppm = 0.4% vs 0.04% = 400 ppm. atmospheric CO2. I’ve read that on submarines CO2 concentrations up to 10,000 ppm = 1% are deemed safe. Regardless, CO2 concentration in our own bodies = 56,000 ppm, and exhaled CO2 contains about 40,000 ppm., decreased due to the mixing of exhaled with atmospheric air in the airway conduit tubes. The only theoretical problem of having a 4,000 ppm atmosphere instead of a 400 ppm atmosphere, would be that it only in effect slightly decreases the concentration gradient of exhaled air vs atmospheric air. So there might have to be an automatic and slight increase in either rate or depth of breathing in order to get rid of the body’s CO2 load, produced as a result of biochemical respiration. One experiment reported in an old physiology book of mine, showed that increasing inspired air content to CO2 = 1% = 10,000 ppm resulted in only a 1/7 increase in the depth of breathing, without affecting the rate of breathing at all. The adjustment occurs automatically in order to maintain a normal body pH.

  111. RoHa! says:

    “The fact that most trees are not yet showing signs of migration …”

    … is a relief. If boatloads of trees start sailing our way, our politicians are going to go totally crazy.

  112. Dick of Utah says:

    OldWeirdHarold says: “Wait till the Ents wake up. then Canada’s in for it.”

    It could get ugly…

  113. Estimates of rates of tree migration northward during the (genuinely) rapid warming in the early Holocene exceed 100m/yr and some estimates exceed 200m/yr. This is for maple and beech.

    I have rescanned the Hubert Lamb’s northern tree limits map so it’s a bit easier to analyse than the old hand-scan:

    http://www.sturmsoft.com/climate/forest_grassland_limits.png

    Trees like all the plants I have had to deal with are generally far more sensitive to available soil moisture than temperature. That said, the heuristic in climatology before it went off the rails was warmer = wetter (ceteris paribus). Trees that suffer a shortage of moisture early in the growing season tend to ignore adequate moisture levels mid-season.

    ferd berple said @ September 12, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Suckling, P.W. and Mitchell, M.D. 2000. Variation of the Koppen C/D climate boundary in the central United States during the 20th century. Physical Geography 21: 38-45.

    Thanks Ferd; yer blood’s worth bottlin’ :-) I received the Suckling & Mitchell graphics from Hans Erren these many long years ago. I’ve been looking through the wrong pubs…

  114. The Suckling and Mitchell paper can be downloaded from here for $37 :-(

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02723646.2000.10642697#.UjKk6canqT4

    It’s only three times what I paid for an offprint of Lamb’s Climate, vegetation,and forest limits in early civilized times paper on paper. Why do recycled electrons cost so much more than paper and postage from the other end of the planet?

  115. James Bull says:

    I they could only develop Triffids then they would know which way they were migrating and would only need to follow them (at a safe distance) to see how far they go North or South.

    Loved this comment by…
    mike fowle says:
    September 12, 2013 at 5:07 am
    I like the idea of trees “migrating”. So Birnam Wood does come to Dunsinane.

    James Bull

  116. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: September 12, 2013 at 5:44 am

    “As one who has been amazed at how many maple tree “helicopter” seed-things can accumulate in assorted vehicle nooks and crannies, I am certain maple tree seeds have been regularly transported 30 miles further northward for at least the past hundred years, most likely far longer. Likewise acorns and pine cones, which fall into truck and wagon beds. Don’t forget fruit trees, with discarded apple and pear cores, peach pits, etc.”

    Edible tree seeds that are not quickly covered over by dirt or other biomass do not last long in nature because they are quickly eaten by birds and other small animals.

    And any seed that does manage to sprout new growth has a perilous first five (5) years of survival that is contingent upon temperature and rainfall ….. and especially the fact that their young growth of leaves and stems are a sought after “delicacy” by most every herbivore.

    Squirrels are a great “migrator” for nut trees because they will gather a nut from under the tree and then bury that nut up to 50+ yards away from the tree and then retrieve it in time of need. But they never find all that they bury.

    And about those Sugar Maple “helicopter” seeds …………

    “Well before the coming of the first European settlers, Canada’s aboriginal peoples had discovered the food properties of maple sap, which they gathered every spring. According to many historians, the maple leaf began to serve as a Canadian symbol as early as 1700.” http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1363626184104/1363626227047

    Cheers,
    The ranting and delusional denialist

    And ps: Tree growth occurs in the springtime from say March to June. A warm, wet spring pretty much insures good to great growth. Summertime is for producing sugars that are stored in the roots for next year’s spring growth cycle.

  117. dp says:

    http://www.treesofnorthamerica.net/trees/Alpine+Fir

    How ever will they adapt? Oh no’s – Think of the dendrogeny! <– children of trees :)

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