Ashland, Wisconsin. Source: City of Ashland.

Short Summary

Ashland, a port on Lake Superior near the head of Chequamegon Bay, is located in northern Wisconsin and has a population of nearly 7,900. Home to Northland College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, and the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, tourism is a significant part of the area’s economy and the summer season brings in tourists for Great Lakes activities. According to the city’s 2017 Tree Management Plan, Ashland has 4,348 total trees and 90 distinct species. The most common species include maple (20.3%) and green ash (13.3%) and 87% of the city’s trees are in fair or better condition. They also provide $376,977 in annual benefits. With a typical Midwestern, humid continental climate, Ashland experiences distinct seasons and can have lake effect snow storms due to its proximity to Lake Superior.

Tree Species Vulnerability

Species distribution modeling suggests that the changing climate will shift suitable habitat and heat and hardiness zones for various tree species in the Ashland region. In the tree species list identified for Ashland, 18 species have a low adaptability score, 63 species have a medium adaptability score, and 36 species have a high adaptability score. Climate change vulnerability of urban trees, including adaptive capacity and zone suitability under low and high emissions scenarios, is outlined in the tree species handout below.

Ashland, Wisconsin Urban Forestry. Source: City of Ashland.
Ashland, Wisconsin Waterfront. Source:

Climate Change Impacts

The state of Wisconsin has warmed by 2-3°F since 1950 and is projected to warm by an additional 2-8°F by 2050. The state has also become 10-20% wetter since 1950 and the annual average is projected to increase. Extreme precipitation events may lead to flooding, which can result in runoff, erosion, infrastructure damage, and transportation issues. Human health impacts include heat-related illness, worsening chronic illnesses, mental health issues, injuries from dangerous weather events, infectious diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, and illnesses from contaminated food and water. A changing climate also impacts habitat and survivability of plants, fish, and wildlife, threatening the state’s annual $2 billion fishing industry. For example, warming water temperatures in lakes and streams will cause the loss of species such as Walleye, Northern Pike, and Brown Trout, while warm-water species such as Bluegill and Largemouth Bass will be favored.

Explore Climate Impacts

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