• A 9-year-old Texas red oak.

    Credit: E. Gregory McPherson

    A 9-year-old Texas red oak.
Editor’s note: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that one-third of plant and animal species will be driven from their current range if temperatures rise just 2° to 4° F. In 2013, the Chicago Botanic Garden studied the impact of three IPCC temperature and rainfall scenarios on 40 tree species common to the Upper Midwest. Results indicate up to 20% will begin declining by 2050.

“Somewhat to our surprise, the ginkgo is likely to be one of the best performers,” says Curator of Woody Plants Andrew Bell. Others likely to thrive mid-century urban planting conditions are two species that have shown resistance to Dutch elm disease, the Valley Forge American and Accolade, and the Village Green Japanese Zelkova.

The research also underscores the importance of diversity, and taking the best possible care of existing trees—two things echoed by these urban foresters.

Bonus: Click here for a video of Andrew Bell sharing study results.