In the Northeast, climate trends include more rain and more frequent heavy rain events.
In addition, warming temperatures may increase insect growth rates, making the region more hospitable to existing pests and potentially to new pests. Altogether, these patterns will increase stressors that affect forest health.
The Scituate Reservoir is a critical source of drinking water for over 60% of Rhode Islanders. Protecting the source of the water supply reduces treatment costs and maintains water quality. Managing the health of the forest is a critical element of watershed protection. Since the creation of the water supply system, Providence Water has been actively managing the land around the reservoir to maintain a resilient forest. A resilient forest can withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions, such as heavy rain, drought, or an invasive pest. Climate-related events could negatively impact reservoir forests, which could lead to reduced water quality.
In 2015, Providence Water set up trial demonstration sites to explore how trees from warmer climates will perform in the area. This aggressive approach to climate adaptation is called assisted migration. Providence Water is researching survival and health of both native Rhode Island and mid-Atlantic tree species.
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Available Resources from the tour:
Hub Video Interviews
- Providence Water's Project History
- Forest Strategies for Climate Adaptation
- Forest Health and Climate Change
- Tree Species Selection at Providence Water
- Forest Education and Stewardship
Publications and Articles
- Preparing for Climate Change: Forestry and Assisted Migration (U.S. Forest Service)
- Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada (U.S. Forest Service)
- White-tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests: Understanding and Assessing Impacts (U.S. Forest Service)
- Warmer Winter Brings Forest-Threatening Beetles North (New York Times)
- Taste test? Deer preferences seem to help non-native invasive plants spread (Pennsylvania State University)
- Providence Water
- Climate Change Tree Atlas
- Adaptation Workbook
- National Climate Assessment: Forests
- USDA Forest Service: Southern Pine Beetle
- The American Chestnut Foundation
- Arbor Day Foundation: TD Green Streets Grant Program
- Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program: Land Water Connection