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Coastal Alaska forests under climate change: What to expect?Author(s): Wu Ma; Xiaoping Zhou; Jingjing Liang; Mo Zhou
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 448: 432-444.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionCoastal Alaska forests consist of 2.6 million hectares of productive timberland and constitute the largest terrestrial carbon reservoir in the state. It has become increasingly urgent to understand potential climate-induced changes in forest structural and species composition in this region. Based on in situ data from 544 permanent sample plots (PSPs) for calibration and 244 PSPs for validation, we developed a climate-sensitive density-dependent, species-, and size-specific matrix model (CSMatrix-AK), to predict fine-scale dynamics of coastal Alaska forests from the present to Year 2100 under three climate scenarios – Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5. With post-sample validation, we showed that the CSMatrix-AK model was more accurate than other existing models for the region. Under low-intensity and high-frequency stochastic shocks which represented natural disturbances typical for the region, we projected a gradual decline of Sitka spruce, a major commercial species in the region, and a significantly lower level of total stand basal area under all three climate scenarios. The results suggest that timber industry, landowners and managers, policymakers, and local communities will need to prepare for substantial impacts of climate change on Coastal Alaska forests and the regional forestry sector. Our CSMatrix-AK model provides a useful tool to better inform the stakeholders of such changes and lays the foundation for adaptive forest management to sustain forests and associated ecosystem services in the region.
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CitationMa, Wu; Zhou, Xiaoping; Liang, Jingjing; Zhou, Mo. 2019. Coastal Alaska forests under climate change: What to expect?. Forest Ecology and Management. 448: 432-444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.06.030.
KeywordsMatrix growth model, climate change, forest dynamics, disturbances, temperate rainforest.
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