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Fall Foliage Failure

Climate change's latest victim

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Fall might just be the sweetest shoulder season—drier weather, empty trails, and a forest bursting with orange, red, and yellow leaves ensure sweet hiking beyond summer’s peak months. But that much sought-after fall foliage could get more scarce as world temperatures rise: When average temperatures go up, as they have in recent years, forests that produce vibrant colors can actually migrate north.

This is of particular concern to maple-leaf lovers in the northeast. Since 1971, temperatures have risen 2.8 degrees, and if the trend holds, all indigenous American maples will cross the border into Canada. New England will have a climate similar to Virginia, Virginia will be like the Everglades, and we’ll have to bring our passports to get quality fall foliage or maple syrup.

How could you do us like that, maple trees? I know Canada put you on their flag and even named a hockey team after you, but can you cut us a break, just this once?

—Ted Alvarez

Fall foliage threatened by global warming (Plenty)