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American trees are moving west as well as north, and we don’t know why

The Atlantic magazine posted an interesting article this week about the migration of trees from one region to another.  Of course the trees don’t actually pick up their roots and walk away, but over time some areas see a decline in saplings while other areas see new growth.  What surprised the scientists quoted in the article was that the tree species were not only moving north, as would be expected from a warming climate, but also westward.  In particular, the pine species were moving more northward while deciduous trees were moving more westward.  Scientists are not sure why the westward movement, but are tentatively attributing it to increases in rainfall which might improve local climates for deciduous trees.  You can read the article here.

Where the center of population of tree species shifted between 1980 and 2015 (Fei et al. / Nature Advances)