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Analysis of the U.S. forest tolerance patterns depending on current and future temperature and precipitationAuthor(s): Jean Lienard; John Harrison; Nikolay Strigul
Source: In: Stanton, Sharon M.; Christensen, Glenn A., comps. 2015. Pushing boundaries: new directions in inventory techniques and applications: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2015. 2015 December 8–10; Portland, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-931. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 255-259.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (379.0 KB)
DescriptionForested ecosystems are shaped by climate, soil and biotic interactions, resulting in constrained spatial distribution of species and biomes. Tolerance traits of species determine their fundamental ecological niche, while biotic interactions narrow tree distributions to the realized niche. In particular, shade, drought and waterlogging tolerances have been well-characterized at the species level in the Northern hemisphere tree species. Species distribution models explore fundamental niches and current geographic distributions with respect to environmental factors, but their ability to capture and predict the community-level patterns is limited. Here, we analyze the Forest Inventory and Analysis Database and show that the tolerances of forest stands are directly linked with annual temperature, precipitations, and soil features in mainland USA. Using temperature and precipitation as two major predictors, we developed a model of tolerance distributions at forest patch-mosaic level, that we call the Tolerance Distribution Model (TDM). Using 17 climate change models from CMIP5, we delineate forested ecosystems vulnerable to drought, and we show that high elevation areas, and Midwest as well as Northeast US are at a high risk under future climate. We also predict changes of forest type over much of the land surface along the Southern and Western borders of the conterminous US. Our TDM provides a scaling of species tolerances to the community level and improves our understanding of how terrestrial ecosystems develop over large spatial scales shaped by climate. In particular, the direct connection we elucidate between temperature, precipitation and stand-level tolerances provides a new tool to quantitatively assess the impact of climatic changes in forested ecosystems.
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CitationLienard, Jean; Harrison, John; Strigul, Nikolay. 2015. Analysis of the U.S. forest tolerance patterns depending on current and future temperature and precipitation. In: Stanton, Sharon M.; Christensen, Glenn A., comps. 2015. Pushing boundaries: new directions in inventory techniques and applications: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2015. 2015 December 8–10; Portland, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-931. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 255-259.
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