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A method for estimating vulnerability of Douglas-fir growth to climate change in the Northwestern U.S.


J.S. Littell
D.L. Peterson



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


The Forestry Chronicle. 81(3): 369-374


Borrowing from landscape ecology, atmospheric science, and integrated assessment, we aim to understand the complex interactions that determine productivity in montane forests and utilize such relationships to forecast montane forest vulnerability under global climate change. Specifically, we identify relationships for precipitation and temperature that govern the spatiotemporal variability in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) growth by seeking similarities in patterns of growth/climate models across a significant portion of the climatological range of the species. In the 21st century and beyond, sustainable forestry will depend on successful adaptation to the impacts of climate change and climate variability on forest structure and function. The combination of these foci will allow improved prediction of the fate of montane forests over a wide range of biogeoclimatic conditions in western North America and thus allow improved management strategies for adapting to climate change. We describe a multidisciplinary strategy for analyzing growth variability as a function of climate over a broad range of local-to-regional influences and demonstrate the efficacy of this sampling method in defining regional gradients of growth-limiting factors.


Littell, J.S.; Peterson, D.L. 2005. A method for estimating vulnerability of Douglas-fir growth to climate change in the Northwestern U.S. The Forestry Chronicle. 81(3): 369-374

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