Researchers: Warming Planet Threatening Northeast's Hemlock Trees

Mar 30, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine - Researchers at the University of Maine say hemlock trees will be at risk of accelerated decline as winters warm in the Northeast.

Bill Livingston is associate professor of forest resources at UMaine.  He says in northern New England,  cold winter weather has been able to keep the insect that causes hemlock decline in check.

"But because the model we had was something where we could vary the temperature, we warmed up winter temperatures by 2 degrees and found that, yes, that decline of hemlock then started creeping northward," Livingston says.

Right now, a quarter of hemlock trees are at risk, but researchers say that percentage could rise to nearly half as winters warm.