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Climate Change and Predicted Shifts in New Mexico Plant Hardiness Zones

Authors: Scott Miller*,
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: climate change, plant hardiness, trees
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since 1960, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map has been a helpful guide for determining which perennial plants can be grown in a particular area. This map has been updated several times and a key factor causing alterations to this map are changes in the 30 year average of the yearly minimum temperature. The most recent edition of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map was published in 2012. For work as part of a grant funded by the New Mexico Department of Forestry, I used CMIP5 climate data, Climate Data Operators, and GIS software to create predicted future Plant Hardiness Zone Maps for New Mexico. This paper describes an analysis of the predicted plant hardiness zones and details how changes may affect species found within a data base of trees commonly grown in urban areas throughout New Mexico. Results show that the yearly minimum temperature in much of the state will increase in future years. These changes in temperature would lead to different areas that are within the hardiness zone tolerances for certain tree species.

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