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Blog/Opinion: The effect of climate change on plants

In the gardening world, there is plenty of conversation about the negative effects of climate change on plants, wildlife and the environment. Much of the talk centers around the lack of rainfall and the extinction of a preponderance of native plant species and wildlife which are dependent on these native plants for survival. Another hot topic is the importance of greening our urban areas by planting and maintaining trees, creating a plethora of green roofs, developing gardening communities and parks, the dire need for homeowners and businesses to learn to use a minimal amount of water and gas powered tools as well as absolutely NO use of chemicals in maintaining yards and landscapes.?


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There are a few instances though, where the warming of the earth can potentially be a good thing. A temperature increase could prove benefical to colder winters where crops that could not grow with the frozen ground would be able to do so as the temperature of the earth becomes warmer. In parts of the world, crops could grow for longer periods of time producing fruits that were once able to succeed only in warmer climates. Some gardeners are discovering that certain plants which were not hardy in their USDA Zone can now be treated as perennials. And believe me, this is a delight for keen gardeners!


On the other hand, the negatives of climate change continue to stack up. High temperatures produce heat stress on crops which means they grow and produce less. And because there is more fluctuation in temperatures, plants are going to need to adapt to these changes.


Although droughts are plentiful with the results being obvious, when there is excessive rainfall, flooding takes place which damages plants. If a geographical area experiences later frosts, early flowering spring trees will be damaged. And the list goes on and on. With climate change, the patterns of pollination will change which in turn will effect plant growth and diversity.


The bottom line is, climate change is going to continue to cause havoc with our ecosystem. Minimally, we need to stay alert and as individuals of this earth do all that we can to help mitigate the harmful effects. When you ask what you as one person can do to make a difference, the answer is quite simple. Plant a tree, minimize the lawn in your landscape, design a garden with drought resistant plants (if you live in an area that is lacking in water) and stop using all chemicals in your landscape. Addressing even one of these issues will have a positive effect on the environment.





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The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

The effect of climate change on plants:  Created on February 21st, 2010.  Last Modified on August 1st, 2010

About Fran Sorin

Fran Sorin

Fran Sorin is a recognized gardening expert, ecologist, author, broadcaster, and journalist. Her book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, now considered a classic, was groundbreaking when published as no one had written about gardening in the context of creativity, spirituality, and transformation.

Fran’s faith in the healing power of nature informs all of her work. She believes that each of us benefits from being surrounded by the beauty and therapeutic effect of nature – at home, work, and in the city or town where we live. To facilitate the ability for city dwellers to interact with nature, she focuses on ecological landscape design, vertical green walls, green roof gardening, urban gardening, and sustainable urban agriculture.


Fran is the CBS Radio News Garden Contributor – her gardening features are heard several times a week on CBS Radio stations throughout the country. She has been a Regular Contributor on The Today Show and made appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly, CNN, HGTV, Discovery, DIY, Comcast, and NBC10 in Philadelphia. She has been the GardenSmart Contributor for USA Weekend Magazine, a Contributing Editor for Radius Magazine, and was instrumental in developing the iVillage Garden Channel.

Learn more about Fran and read dozens of articles she has written on her website, and at her group gardening blog:




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