This map portal provides information about forests in New Jersey, climate conditions, climate-associated risks to forests, species distributions, and how conditions might change in the future using two different IPCC emissions scenarios.
There are nine different map themes to choose from, with a description of each provided.
This resource offers a wide variety of data categories to explore.
Students can select specific counties and municipalities to view local data.
Students can save maps by clicking the green "Save This Map" button in the top right-hand corner.
Some of the maps use the term "RCP" which stands for Representative Concentration Pathway, or greenhouse gas concentration projections. The two scenarios are based on the IPCC estimates for a moderate effort to reduce emissions and a business-as-usual scenario.
Some of the maps use the term "BA" which stands for basal area, a measure of a forest's tree volume and growth.
Students will need to click on the "Legend" button located in the top right-hand corner of the screen to display the map legend.
Because the map portal has so many functions and types of data, teachers should be familiar with the resource before using it in class.
For less advanced classes, teachers could present the maps on a smart board and walk students through the data.
Biology classes could use the "Species Distribution & Future Projections" map to see how different tree species will be affected by climate change. Classes could discuss how the changes in tree species will cause other changes in the ecosystem.
Other resources on this topic include this video from the World Resources Institute on how satellite data can be used to monitor the world's forests, this article that explains the value of forests as carbon sinks, and this video that shows the role of forests in protecting biodiversity.
NJ Forest Adapt tool contains series of maps students can explore to see projections and changes in land use, forest cover, fuel and wildfire hazards, and pest and disease risk. The down-scaling method is appropriate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS2: Earth's Systems
HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Geography
D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
D2.Geo.1.9-12 Use geospatial and related technologies to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.