Beech booming as climate changes, and that's bad for forests

Beech tree forest. (pixabay)
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A group of scientists says beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes, and that could be bad news for forests.

The scientists are from the University of Maine and Indiana's Purdue University and say the move toward beech-heavy forests is associated with higher temperatures and precipitation. Their 30-year study is one of the first to look at such broad changes over a long time period in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada.

Author Aaron Weiskittel says the changes could have major negative ramifications for forest ecosystems and industries that rely on them. Beech is of much less commercial value than some species of birch and maple trees.

The scientists published their findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Ecology.

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