North America Regional Climate Centre
Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research programme looking at the impacts of climate change on forests. This Climate Centre is one of five global research centres.
From the evergreens in Alaska to the scrub pines in Florida, forests across North America are many things to many people: a source of solace and recreation, a source of income, a powerful call to action in a changing climate, and so much more.
But the diverse forests that cover roughly 36 per cent of the land area of North America have been heavily impacted by humans.
The North America Regional Climate Centre is based in Edgewater, Maryland, east of the US capital in the Chesapeake Bay region. More than 40 per cent of Maryland is currently covered by forest, which serve many functions, from providing drinking water and jobs, to recreation, timber and hunting.
The Climate Centre is located within a 2800-acre swath of the Eastern Deciduous Forest, which has been greatly influenced by human activity. The trees vary greatly in age, many having only recently regenerated from agricultural land that was poorly managed. Research indicates that the forest has been cut down at least once and maybe twice.
Earthwatch is collaborating with two research arms within the internationally renowned Smithsonian Institution: the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), which already holds more than 40 years of forest research data, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre (SERC), one of the leading research and education centres in the US.
The study aims to reveal which tree species are becoming more common in changing conditions, which trees are being lost, how much carbon is storfed by the trees, and how neighboring trees interact with each other over time. Earthwatch and partners will use this information to make recommendations to forest managers in North America.
Learn more about this programme and Earthwatch's role in the HSBC Climate Partnership.