Global Warming

The potential effects of global climate change can be considered in terms of ecological systems, sea-level rise, water resources, agriculture, electric demand, air quality, and health effects (Smith and Tirpak 1988). Since climate influences the location and composition of plants and animals in the natural environment, changes in climate have numerous consequences on ecological systems. One consequence includes shifts in forests in geographic range and composition; for example, the current southern boundary of hemlock and sugar maple in the eastern United States could move northward by about 400 mi (Smith and Tirpak 1988). An example of compositional change is that the mixed boreal and northern hardwood forest in northern Minnesota could become all northern hardwood.

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