Activity 4: The Changing Forests
This activity introduces students to how changes in climate can affect southern forest ecosystems and forest management, as reported in five, two-page articles produced by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. Students read and discuss one of these articles to learn about current monitoring and research activities of forest scientists regarding climate change. In groups, students communicate the key points from the articles to their classmates, and then summarize ways that climate change might affect southeastern forests and the role of forest management and science in responding to those changes.
Full Activity (with student pages included)
Presentations and Teacher Notes
- Introduction to Southeastern Forests Presentation
- Introduction to Southeastern Forests Teacher Notes
- Climate Impacts on Forests – U.S. EPA website with information about climate change impacts on forest ecosystems.
- CompassLive Blog – U.S. Forest Service blog designed to share the latest information and research on southeastern forests.
- Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the U.S. – Analysis of current and future conditions of forests with specific focus on climate change impacts.
- The Forest Service and Climate Change Video – U.S. Forest Service video introducing climate change science, impacts on forest ecosystems, and the Forest Service response to climate change.
- Neil Sampson Says Climate Change Speeding Flux of Forest Ecosystems – 90-second podcast with scientist Neil Sampson describing how forests may be affected by climate change.
- State Climatologist Interview with NC People – A video with the North Carolina State climatologist, Dr. Ryan Boyles, explaining how climate change can impact southeastern forests.
- The State of the World’s Forests 2018 – A report from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization on the critical contribution of forests toward sustainable development goals, including mitigating and adapting to climate change.
- Southern Forest Futures Project: Summary Report – Brief Summary of the Southern Forest Futures Project technical report with a set of key findings and implications.
I used several of the “optional videos” to help give direction to the activity. They were helpful to students.
This activity was an “eye opener” for many students.
I modified the activity progression. Instead of starting with the small groups, I included everyone together in the discussion. Separating the class into groups wouldn’t have allowed me to keep them focused on the activity. They get distracted very easily.
For students who have difficulty with reading and comprehension, the articles were a nice length and not overwhelming.