Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Climate change is being implicated in changes in forest structure and function--from species range shifts to increased forest mortality to changes in phenology. Based on historical patterns, the potential for change and even the direction of change will likely be species specific and significant . We take an empirical-statistical modeling approach using species abundance data from well recognized national inventories. For the past 15 years, we have developed and refined abundance-based habitat models utilizing the latest statistical techniques and have generated tools and summaries to explore potential changes of tree species habitats in the eastern U.S. (www.nrs.fs.fed.us/atlas). The DISTRIB model uses a statistically robust, predictive data-mining tool, RandomForest, to predict and map the potential habitat changes for 134 tree species and 147 bird species in the eastern United States. Each species is modeled individually to show current and potential future habitats according to two emission scenarios and three climate models.