Central Hardwoods

The Central Hardwoods region covers 42 million acres across southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. This landscape is a mosaic of forests, woodlands, and savannas, and other ecosystems. Many forests are dominated by oaks, shortleaf pine, hickory, and various other tree species.

Regional forests and natural ecosystems provide numerous cultural, economic, and environmental benefits, and are facing increasing threats from a changing climate. Warmer and more variable conditions are already having an impact on the region’s forests, increasing damage from extreme precipitation events and insect pests. Future changes could dramatically alter the landscape that characterizes the region. 

Download the Central Hardwoods Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability Assessment

The Central Hardwoods vulnerability assessment describes climate change risks and opportunities for forests under a range of future climate scenarios. Two global climate models, three forest impact models, hundreds of scientific papers, and forest manager expertise were combined to assess the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems. More than 30 scientists and forest managers contributed to the assessment.

Download the assessment

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The vulnerability assessment provides critical information about how climate change is expected to affect this region and serves as a starting point for other Framework activities.

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Featured resources

Climate Change Projections for Tree Species

The region's forests will be affected by a changing climate during this century, but individual tree species will respond uniquely to climate change, depending on their particular silvics and ecological tolerances. These handouts summarize general climate change projections for tree species across the region based on future projections. The general trends derived from these models can be combined with local knowledge and management experience to judge risk on a particular site


Heat and Hardiness Zone Projections

We have compiled a list of USDA Forest Service Tree Atlas model results and adaptability ratings for three physiographic regions in the state of Indiana. Heat and hardiness zone map projections are also described, below: