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New Database Paves Way For Trees To Thrive In Face Of Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss

New database that documents environments faced by over 48,000 tree species supports climate change adaptation

  • The Tree Globally Observed Environmental Ranges database (TreeGOER) documents the observed environmental ranges of 48,129 tree species.
  • TreeGOER allows the impact of climate change on tree species to be explored and for better-targeted tree planting to support climate change adaptation.
  • TreeGOER is part of a wider suite of resources available from the CIFOR-ICRAF Global Tree Knowledge Platform that also includes the new GlobalUsefulNativeTrees database.

BONN, Germany, 26 September 2023 – A just-released database is set to help better select tree species in the face of climate change – paving the way for climate-adapted species to thrive in tree planting and restoration initiatives.

The database, Tree Globally Observed Environmental Ranges or TreeGOER, for short, documents the observed environmental ranges for the majority of known tree species. It was developed at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), an international research and development organization on trees, forests, agroforestry and landscapes. The open-access database is available on Zenodo and described in the journal Global Change Biology. TreeGOER documents the global environmental ranges for 51 variables for observed occurrences of 48,129 tree species.

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TreeGOER is expected to become a crucial resource for land managers and researchers to understand how climate change could affect the geographic ranges of where tree species can grow and thrive in the future. It allows plans to be made that support climate change adaptation, such as through planting climate-adapted tree species mixtures, and through encouraging local adaptation and facilitated migration of natural tree stands that will support healthy future forests and agroforestry systems.

“Not only will TreeGOER support climate change adaptation, but it also allows us to study how climate change is particularly likely to affect tree species richness in particular areas of the world. These types of biogeographical analyses give scientists and practitioners an opportunity to prioritize tree-based interventions in areas that are at higher risk,” said Roeland Kindt, a senior scientist at CIFOR-ICRAF, and the creator of the database and author of the accompanying article.

The database complements another global database recently created at CIFOR-ICRAF, called the GlobalUsefulNativeTrees database (GlobUNT), which documents the uses of over 14,000 tree species to support synergies between biodiversity recovery and local livelihoods in landscape restoration.

“Together, these two resources will support land managers in directing climate change adaption and restoration interventions toward native tree species planting,” said Kindt. “Our goal is to help everyone to plant the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose so we can adapt to challenges like climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.”

TreeGOER and GlobUNT were developed through funding provided by the Darwin Initiative, Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative and the Green Climate Fund. TreeGOER and GlobUNT complement a wide suite of resources developed by CIFOR-ICRAF that assist the selection of ‘the right tree for the right place and the right purpose’ available from the Global Tree Knowledge Platform.

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