The purpose of this study was to review scientifi c knowledge and model projections on vegetation vulnerability to climatic and other environmental changes in the Pacifi c Northwest, with emphasis on fi ve major biome types: subalpine forests and alpine meadows, maritime coniferous forests, dry coniferous forests, savannas and woodlands (oak and juniper), and interior shrub-steppe. We started by reviewing and synthesizing the scientifi c literature on past and projected changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and climate for the Pacifi c Northwest (and globally), and how these changes are likely to infl uence snowpack dynamics, soil water availability, and selected disturbance regimes. We also reviewed and synthesized the scientifi c literature on plant growth, reproduction, and mortality in response to changing climate and disturbance regimes, and on the ability of plants to adapt to these changes through phenotypic plasticity, local adaptation, and migration. We then reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of several types of simulation models commonly used to project vegetation responses to climate change and discussed recent model projections of vegetation responses to future climate change scenarios in the Pacifi c Northwest, as well as how these projections might best be used in developing management plans for forests and rangelands. We next reviewed the existing scientifi c literature on plant sensitivity and adaptation to changing climate and disturbance regimes for fi ve major vegetation biomes in the Pacifi c Northwest. We concluded with a discussion of current approaches and resources for developing climate change adaptation strategies, including restoring historical vegetation structure and composition, promoting resistance to change, promoting resilience to change, and facilitating anticipated responses to change.
Peterson, David W.; Kerns, Becky K.; Dodson, Erich K. 2014. Climate change effects on vegetation in the Pacific Northwest: a review and synthesis of the scientific literature and simulation model projections. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNWGTR-900. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 183 p.