(AP) -- Two new Indiana climate reports say the state’s forests will likely
benefit from longer growing seasons but the state will also face increased
spring flooding and summer droughts.
released Tuesday are part of Purdue University’s ongoing Indiana Climate
Change Impact Assessment. The reports are a collaboration among several
Indiana universities and multiple government agencies, including the U.S.
director of the university’s Climate Change Research Center, told the
Bloomington Herald Times that Indiana’s average annual temperature has
increased by 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century.
and urban green spaces provide important economic benefits and recreational
opportunities, support our diverse wildlife and generally make our state a
more pleasant and healthy place to live,” Dukes said. “In order to maintain
these resources and preserve them for future generations, we have to
understand the potential effects of climate change and act on them now.”
The increase is
expected to continue and intensify, said Richard Phillips, an associate
professor of biology at Indiana University. Scientists predict the state
will likely get more precipitation in the winter and spring, increasing
erosion, while droughts are expected in summer and fall.
While a longer
growing season and increased concentration of carbon dioxide may promote
tree growth, those gains may be negated by the increased frequency and
intensity of flooding and droughts, according to the report.
change may benefit some animal and plant species, such as the silver maple
and sycamore, Phillips said. But the changing habitat could be detrimental
to other tree species like the American basswood and Eastern white pine, he
may also increase heat stress on plants and could result in increases in
pests and diseases, the report said.