A new federal study says climate change in the Maritimes may lead to a gradual reduction in the growth of softwood trees, which are crucial to the region’s pulp industry. Using computer models, the Natural Resources Canada study marks the first region-wide assessment of the composition and growth of the Acadian Forest to the end of this century. The forest is carefully watched in forestry circles, as it is a unique mix temperate forests, with warmer weather trees like red maples, and boreal forests that include fir and spruce. Assuming that greenhouse gas emissions continue at “business as usual” levels, the study says the woodlands will experience an average temperature rise of 7 C by the end of the 21st Century. As a result, in the latter half of the century trees like red spruce will decline in abundance between 10 to 20 per cent when compared with 2011, while the hardwoods that prefer warmer climates will increase.