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Changes in Forest Growth due to Climate Change

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Research Paper: Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth 

Charney, N. D., Babst, F., Poulter, B., Record, S., Trouet, V. M., Frank, D., Enquist, B. J. and Evans, M. E. K. (2016), Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth. Ecol Lett, 19: 1119–1128. doi:10.1111/ele.12650

 


This paper forecasts the impacts of climate change on future forest growth using over 2 million historical tree-ring observations. Through exploring different scenarios of increased water use efficiency due to CO2 fertilisation they found that in some North American geographies, climate change negatively impacted forest growth rates while only in certain coastal areas was climate change projected to positively impact forest growth.

There was no evidence of boreal greening on high latitude forests, i.e., the increased growth due to warmer temperatures and increased CO2 concentrations, implying that these forests would not offset GHG emissions into the future.

The implications are for potentially less resilient forests where forests change from being climate sinks to becoming carbon producers. While the data is solely from North America, the findings may be relevant to Eurasian boreal forests. In addition, they highlight the importance of forests management strategies that address regional differences in forest growth.

https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12650

https://www.brynmawr.edu/news/north-american-forests-unlikely-curb-climate-change

 

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