Skip to Main Content
Empirical analyses of plant-climate relationships for the western United StatesAuthor(s): Gerald E. Rehfeldt; Nicholas L. Crookston; Marcus V. Warwell; Jeffrey S. Evans
Source: International Journal of Plant Sciences. 167(6): 1123-1150.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (4.03 MB)
DescriptionThe Random Forests multiple-regression tree was used to model climate profiles of 25 biotic communities of the western United States and nine of their constituent species. Analyses of the communities were based on a gridded sample of ca. 140,000 points, while those for the species used presence-absence data from ca. 120,000 locations. Independent variables included 35 simple expressions of temperature and precipitation and their interactions. Classification errors for community models averaged 19%, but the errors were reduced by half when adjusted for misalignment between geographic data sets. Errors of omission for species-specific models approached 0, while errors of commission were less than 9%. Mapped climate profiles of the species were in solid agreement with range maps. Climate variables of most importance for segregating the communities were those that generally differentiate maritime, continental, and monsoonal climates, while those of importance for predicting the occurrence of species varied among species but consistently implicated the periodicity of precipitation and temperature-precipitation interactions. Projections showed that unmitigated global warming should increase the abundance primarily of the montane forest and grassland community profiles at the expense largely of those of the subalpine, alpine, and tundra communities but also that of the arid woodlands. However, the climate of 47% of the future landscape may be extramural to contemporary community profiles. Effects projected on the spatial distribution of species-specific profiles were varied, but shifts in space and altitude would be extensive. Species-specific projections were not necessarily consistent with those of their communities.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationRehfeldt, Gerald E.; Crookston, Nicholas L.; Warwell, Marcus V.; Evans, Jeffrey S. 2006. Empirical analyses of plant-climate relationships for the western United States. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 167(6): 1123-1150.
Keywordsbioclimatic models, Random Forests multiple-regression tree, climatic distributions, climatic niche, response to climate change, global warming
- Aspen, climate, and sudden decline in western USA
- Comparative genetic responses to climate for the varieties of Pinus ponderosa and Pseudotsuga menziesii: realized climate niches
- Shifts in the potential distribution of Sky Island plant communities in response to climate change
XML: View XML