Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The heat is on

Perth is in the middle of what looks like being a record hot spell: five days in a row over 40C. 

The previous record was four.

I also read yesterday that Perth is feeling the effects of climate change more than any other place in the world.

And it's not just hot - it's dry. 

Our rainfall used to be over 800mm a year. Now it's more like 600mm and it may halve again yet.

The implications for our trees is obviously serious. Some that are marginal now (eg Norfolk Island Pines) may well drop off altogether.

The challenge for those planting the urban forest today is to choose trees that are going to be able to survive this new regime.

But which ones? 

That's the thing really: we don't know. Trees surprise you. Ones that you think will handle extreme conditions, don't, and those that by rights should have no chance, adapt and seem to go OK.

Of course, we have to use our best guess, but ultimately it's probably going to be suck it and see.

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