The US Department of Agriculture recently reissued its plant hardiness map, which offers the “average annual extreme minimum winter temperatures for perennial plants.” The map was last updated in 2012, and this new version clearly captures how temperatures for Massachusetts's planting zones have warmed between the two editions.

A recent article from The Boston Globe asks local experts—including Bethany Bradley, a professor of biogeography and spatial ecology in the College of Natural Sciences’s Department of Environmental Conservation—about these new projections. The general outlook is that, “while gardeners can't stop climate change alone, we can play a role in what happens to threatened species.”

Bradley shared a prediction for plants such as those belonging to Zones 3 through 6: “It's really the [plants] that are more cold-adapted that may start doing more poorly in our gardens."

Furthermore, Bradley argues that climate change will likely bring additional challenges: “The very wet wets and really dry drys that we've had over the last couple of summers, those stress plants, too," she said. “So we can expect to see more plants dying in our yards."

Click here to read the Boston Globe article. Or, if you have access to UMass Amherst Libraries, you can read Boston Globe articles through ProQuest

Article posted in Careers for Faculty and Public