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Weather & Science

Forests in US West, Canada, Parts of Amazon Face Higher Climate Risk

Although approaches to assessing forests’ risk from climate change diverge, some areas are more vulnerable than others, researchers find. 

A firefighter monitors a backfire operation conducted to slow the advancement of the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, California, on July 24.

A firefighter monitors a backfire operation conducted to slow the advancement of the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, California, on July 24.

Photographer: David Odisho/Bloomberg

It’s clear that the climate crisis is affecting ecosystems around the world — but exactly how and where that will happen next is difficult to estimate. Now an international team of researchers has compared and synthesized different methodological approaches in order to predict how climate change will threaten the globe’s forests through the end of this century. 

The study, published today in the journal Science, finds that southern boreal forests (such as in continental Canada), western North American forests and large swaths of the Amazon will be at particularly high risk in coming decades.