Last fall, I invited a stranger into my yard.

Manzanita, with its peeling red bark and delicate pitcher-shaped blossoms, thrives on the dry, rocky ridges of Northern California. The small, evergreen tree or shrub is famously drought-tolerant, with some varieties capable of enduring more than 200 days between waterings. And yet here I was, gently lowering an 18-inch variety named for botanist Howard McMinn into the damp soil of Tacoma, a city in Washington known for its towering Douglas firs, bigleaf maples, and an average of 152 rainy days per year.

It’s not that I’m a thoughtless gardener. Some studies suggest that the Seattle area’s climate will more closely resemble Northern California’s by 2050, so I’m planting that region’s trees, too.

Climate change is scrambling the seasonswreaking havoc on trees. Some temperate and high-altitude regions will grow more humid, which can lead to lethal rot. In other temperate zones, drier springs and hotter summers are disrupting annual cycles of growth, damaging root systems, and rendering any survivors more vulnerable to pests.

The victims of these shifts include treasured species from around the globe, including certain varietials of the Texas pecan, the towering baobabs found in Senegal, and the expansive fig trees native to Sydney. In the Pacific Northwest, I’ve seen summer heat domes turn our region’s beloved conifers into skeletons and prolonged dry spells wither the crowns of maples until the leaves die off in chunks.

The world is warming too quickly for arboreal adaptation, said Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez, an ecologist at Western Sydney University who researches the impact of climate change on trees. That’s especially true of native trees. “They are the first ones to suffer,” he said.

Urban arborists say planting for the future is urgently needed and could prevent a decline in leafy cover just when the world needs it most. Trees play a crucial role in keeping cities cool. A study published in 2022 found that a roughly 30 percent increase in the metropolitan canopy could prevent nearly 40 percent of heat-related deaths in Europe. The need is particularly acute in marginalized communities, where residents — often people of color — live among treeless expanses where temperatures can go much higher than in more affluent neighborhoods.

Read the full article about urban conservation efforts during climate change by Laura Hautala at Grist.