CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago area trees are facing a threat from Mother Nature.
As CBS 2’s Ed Curran explains, climate change has warmed us up.
Trees are feeling the heat and it is only expected to get worse.
Over the last 100 years, the temperature in Chicago has risen about one degree.
“We’re anticipating, by the end of this century, to be between two and eight degrees warmer here in the Chicago region,” said Lydia Scott, Director of Chicago Region Tree Initiative.
A study by the U.S. Forest Service said almost one in five tree types in Chicago are threatened by climate change. Morton Arboretum’s Lydia Scott said it is not just the heat.
“There will be other things that will be coming to us, that are adaptable to these climate conditions, such as invasive pests and pathogens,” Scott said.
Heat, more rain, storms and drought at times will take their toll on trees.
But planting a wider variety of trees could be the answer.
“We are encouraging that people expand their species palette so that they have a broader species diversity in the region,” Scott said.
Some trees are a little heartier than others. The Accolade Elm was developed at the Morton Arboretum and is resistant to Dutch Elm disease. There are a ton of those tree planted around the Chicago area.
The enormous Linden Tree does well with the changing conditions and the Tulip Tree from the South has stood at the arboretum since 1922. It has adapted well and would probably be resilient in warmer temperatures.
The “Urban Heat Island” effect can make it even hotter in the city. Park districts are working to plant the type of trees necessary to maintain a canopy of green as temperatures rise.