Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Youngsang Kwon

Committee Member

Arleen Hill

Committee Member

Dorian Burnette


Climate change is expected to extend the growing season for trees in northern latitudes, potentially leading to a northern migration of species. However, the evidence of such migration is largely limited to indirect modeling methods, due to the lack of empirical data. FIA data of USDA provide an opportunity to empirically examine the signatures of species migration across United States (US). If the northern migration proves to be true, it is expected that sapling population will be further north than adult populations in both leading and trailing edge of the species range. This study aims to assess tree species migration potential in the eastern US forests by lengthening the comparison period during which the Latitudinal Differences (LD) were calculated between top and bottom 10 percentiles of sapling and adult population of 92 eastern US species in 32 longitudinal bands. The study also examines the correlation between LD and climate data to evaluate the relationship between the magnitude and direction of migration and climate change. Results suggest that species migration patterns are mostly toward range contraction and southern shift, rather than northern migration or range expansion. Approximately 30% of species showed range contraction, 27% showed southern migration, 7% showed northern migration, and only 4% showed range expansion. A weak positive correlation was found between LD and climate data, specifically temperature and precipitation, but more time and continuous assessment may be needed to clearly identify migration patterns resulting from climate change.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access