Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Ide

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The occurrence of global climate change is no longer a debate among scientists; it is now a question of consequences, especially for our Earth's ecosystems. Scientists are now asking, what are the effects of climate change on our ecosystems, and how do we manage for these effects? This thesis addresses these questions from a land manager's point of view. The forest habitat located within Asylum Lake Preserve, Kalamazoo, Michigan serves as a case study to examine and predict the effects of climate change on the tree composition of a typical Southwest Michigan forest.

The woody vegetation within the forest habitat was analyzed for its susceptibility to climate change. Warming caused by climate change will shift temperature thresholds for vegetation northward. Due to this shift, some of the trees and shrubs at Asylum Lake Preserve will be outside their temperature range by 2090. Other trees and shrubs will become better suited for the temperatures of this region. Based on these results, management recommendations were developed to increase the resilience and adaptation of the forest to climate change. A monitoring program was created to gauge the effects of climate change and management strategies.

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