Is climate change hitting Utahns where they live? Is it time to rethink the urban forest?
It’s unclear that climate change caused the event last year that damaged or killed greenery on Utah lawns. It could be a freak occurrence. But it is in line with predictions for a phenomenon scientists expect to increase with climate change this century: weather variability.
Salt Lake City’s urban forester, Bill Rutherford, said he’s not sweating the climate-change question. He has seen species like sequoias suffer before (pictured at left), because they’re a bit out of their range here anyway. It’s not that some climate scenarios aren’t startling for urban landscapes, he said, but it’s hard to know how to respond appropriately.
Some scientists believe Arizona’s climate will gradually overtake Utah, he said, but he’s not recommending that people plant desert palo verdes here. For one thing, they don’t shade well, and home energy bills would rise.
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