Resources: Gardening and Climate Change

(See here for resources on climate change in general)



  • Anderson, J. T., & Wadgymar, S. M. (2020). Climate change disrupts local adaptation and favours upslope migration. Ecology letters23(1), 181-192. Abstract

Selected quote: “Local adaptation to historical conditions could increase vulnerability to climate change, even for geographically widespread species.”

Comment: Native plants from local ecotypes are often promoted as the best choice for home gardens. This study, and many others, show that plants locally adapted to historical conditions may be less suitable than non-native or non-local selections in a changed climate. 

  • Isabel, N., Holliday, J. A., & Aitken, S. N. (2020). Forest genomics: Advancing climate adaptation, forest health, productivity, and conservation. Evolutionary Applications13(1), 3-10.

  • Young, D. J., Blush, T. D., Landram, M., Wright, J. W., Latimer, A. M., & Safford, H. D. (2020). Assisted gene flow in the context of large‐scale forest management in California, USA. Ecosphere11(1), e03001. Full Article

Selected quote: “As climate changes, locally adapted tree populations may become maladapted to the sites in which they presently occur.”


  • Browne, L., Wright, J. W., Fitz-Gibbon, S., Gugger, P. F., & Sork, V. L. (2019). Adaptational lag to temperature in valley oak (Quercus lobata) can be mitigated by genome-informed assisted gene flow. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(50), 25179-25185. Full Article

Selected quote: “These results illustrate that the belief of local adaptation underlying many management and conservation practices, such as using local seed sources for restoration, may not hold for some species. If contemporary adaptational lag is commonplace, we will need new approaches to help alleviate predicted negative consequences of climate warming on natural systems. We present one such approach, “genome-informed assisted gene flow,” which optimally matches individuals to future climates based on genotype–phenotype–environment associations.”

  • Burley, H., Beaumont, L. J., Ossola, A., Baumgartner, J. B., Gallagher, R., Laffan, S., … & Leishman, M. R. (2019). Substantial declines in urban tree habitat predicted under climate change. Science of the Total Environment685, 451-462. Full Article

  • Davis, K. T., Dobrowski, S. Z., Higuera, P. E., Holden, Z. A., Veblen, T. T., Rother, M. T., … & Maneta, M. P. (2019). Wildfires and climate change push low-elevation forests across a critical climate threshold for tree regeneration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(13), 6193-6198. Full Article

    Selected quote: “. . . our results demonstrate that climate change combined with high severity fire is leading to increasingly fewer opportunities for seedlings to establish after wildfires and may lead to ecosystem transitions in low-elevation ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests across the western United States.”

    Comments: Entire ecosystems are transitioning to different states because of climate change. Managed landscapes (e.g. home gardens) can be manipulated to adapt to such changes up to a point. For example, we can use irrigation in dry spells. However, it is prudent to fortify the resilience of home gardens with a diverse palette of plants that are adapted to conditions other than historical norms. In other words, native plants of local ecotypes cannot alone provide the needed diversity.

  • Entwisle, T. J. (2019). R‐E‐S‐P‐E‐C‐T: How Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is responding to climate change. Plants, People, Planet1(2), 77-83. Full Article

Selected quotes: “Climate analogues are being used to identify places in Australia and elsewhere with conditions today similar to those predicted for Melbourne in 2090, to help select new species for the collection. Modelling of the natural and cultivated distribution of species will be used to help select suitable growth forms to replace existing species of high value or interest.”

  • Ermolaev, E., Sundberg, C., Pell, M., Smårs, S., & Jönsson, H. (2019). Effects of moisture on emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from food and garden waste composting. Journal of Cleaner Production, 240, 118165. Abstract

  • Lewis, E., Phoenix, G. K., Alexander, P., David, J., & Cameron, R. W. (2019). Rewilding in the Garden: are garden hybrid plants (cultivars) less resilient to the effects of hydrological extremes than their parent species? A case study with Primula. Urban Ecosystems, 22(5), 841-854. Full Article

“Cultivars dominate many designed landscapes including public and private gardens. Despite this, relatively little is known about their ability to tolerate the hydrological extremes that are likely to become more frequent in the near future. Our research in both controlled and garden experiment settings found strong evidence to suggest that highly-cultivated taxa of Primula are more susceptible to extreme stress (including both waterlogging and drought). If many cultivated forms of garden/landscape plants prove to have limited tolerance to the effects of climate change (such as more radical oscillations in soil moisture availability), even when maintained in highly-managed landscapes, then the implications are significant. The loss of a high proportion of cultivated plants (and as this paper also implies, less generalist species) from gardens and parks would have an immense impact on the floral diversity of such landscapes, and in terms of public/heritage gardens undermine the viability of many. Thus a key consequence of this research is a call for ornamental plant breeders to give much greater consideration to stress tolerance when breeding and selecting new cultivars.”

  • Simler, A. B., Williamson, M. A., Schwartz, M. W., & Rizzo, D. M. (2019). Amplifying plant disease risk through assisted migration. Conservation Letters12(2), e12605. Full Article

“The costs of inaction, resulting in some level of species extinction, may ultimately outweigh disease risks associated with AM. This will be a social choice, informed by scientific knowledge.”


  • Ko, Y. (2018). Trees and vegetation for residential energy conservation: A critical review for evidence-based urban greening in North America. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 34, 318-335. Abstract

Excerpt: “This review demonstrates that there is ample conceptual and empirical evidence to support trees’ energy saving benefits, especially the assertion “urban trees cool houses”, albeit with considerable variation in the magnitude of impacts and with a caution about how to carefully interpret these benefits.”

  • McPherson, E. G., Berry, A. M., & van Doorn, N. S. (2018). Performance testing to identify climate-ready trees. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 29, 28-39. Abstract


  • Cleveland, D. A., Phares, N., Nightingale, K. D., Weatherby, R. L., Radis, W., Ballard, J., … Wilkins, K. (2017). The potential for urban household vegetable gardens to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Landscape and Urban Planning, 157, 365–374. Abstract
  • Nowak, D. J., Appleton, N., Ellis, A., & Greenfield, E. (2017). Residential building energy conservation and avoided power plant emissions by urban and community trees in the United States. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening21, 158-165. Full Article

Excerpt: Modeling tree effects on residential building energy use in urban/community areas in the United States reveals annual energy savings for space conditioning of about 7.2 percent, valued at $7.8 billion. 


Various topics, including climate change, presented by urban forest experts.


  • Visscher, R. S., Nassauer, J. I., & Marshall, L. L. (2016). Homeowner preferences for wooded front yards and backyards: Implications for carbon storage. Landscape and Urban Planning, 146, 1–10. (Abstract)
  • Matthew R. Jorgensen. (2016). Vulnerability to Climate Change: Assessing Trees on the University of Oregon Campus. University of Oregon. Abstract


  • Johnston, M. R., Balster, N. J., & Zhu, J. (2015). Impact of Residential Prairie Gardens on the Physical Properties of Urban Soil in Madison, Wisconsin.Journal of Environment Quality. Abstract


  • Ermolaev, E., Sundberg, C., Pell, M., & Jönsson, H. (2014). Greenhouse gas emissions from home composting in practice. Bioresource technology151, 174-182. Abstract

  • Whittinghill, L. J., Rowe, D. B., Schutzki, R., & Cregg, B. M. (2014). Quantifying carbon sequestration of various green roof and ornamental landscape systems. Landscape and Urban Planning, 123, 41–48. Abstract)


  • Blanusa, T., Monteiro, M. M. V., Fantozzi, F., Vysini, E., Li, Y., & Cameron, R. W. (2013). Alternatives to Sedum on green roofs: Can broad leaf perennial plants offer better ‘cooling service’?. Building and Environment59, 99-106. Abstract Manuscript


  • Van der Veken, S., Hermy, M., Vellend, M., Knapen, A., & Verheyen, K. (2008). Garden plants get a head start on climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment6(4), 212-216. Full Article