You might remember growing up and learning about the Illinois State Tree (if not from Illinois, can you name your hometown state tree? Mine is the Sabal Palm)– Remember? The White Oak! Well, in your lifetime it’s quite possible the tree will be removed as the State symbol and replaced by something that typically grows in Alabama, like a Cyprus. Weird.
Due to climate changes and rising temperatures in the Chicago-land area, Chicago arborists are making serious changes to the “plant list”, among other adaptation strategies. According to this recent New York Times article, the City plants trees based on their ability to thrive in the regional climate including temperature, precipitation, solar rays, as well as soil composition and then their overall aesthetic qualities as well. But Chicago’s climate has changed and is forecast to continue to change. A lot. Therefore the tree planting plans have to change as well.
“By 2070, Chicago could expect 35 percent more precipitation in winter and spring, but 20 percent less in summer and fall. By then, the conditions would have changed enough to make the area’s plant hardiness zone akin to Birmingham, Ala.”
This means, infrastructure changes will be necessary to deal with hotter and hotter, rainier not snowier days. It’s predicted storms will be more intense in spring and winter, leading to flooding. It’ll be drier and hotter in summer and fall, leading to 1000s of heat related deaths.
Check out that article to learn more about the adaptation plans in place for Chicagoland.
Watch this video illustrate how the planet has warmed over the last 131 years.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with adaptation plans? Do you have suggestions for adaptation? What will Chicagoland be like with Alabama seasons?