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Title

Wood production response to climate change will depend critically on forest composition and structure

Publication Year

2014

Author(s)
  • Coomes, David A.
  • Flores, Olivier
  • Holdaway, Robert
  • Jucker, Tommaso
  • Lines, Emily R.
  • Vanderwel, Mark C.
Source
GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY Volume: 20 Issue: 12 Pages: 3632-3645 Published: 2014
ISSN
1354-1013 eISSN: 1365-2486
Abstract

Established forests currently function as a major carbon sink, sequestering as woody biomass about 26% of global fossil fuel emissions. Whether forests continue to act as a global sink will depend on many factors, including the response of aboveground wood production (AWP; MgCha(-1)yr(-1)) to climate change. Here, we explore how AWP in New Zealand's natural forests is likely to change. We start by statistically modelling the present-day growth of 97199 individual trees within 1070 permanently marked inventory plots as a function of tree size, competitive neighbourhood and climate. We then use these growth models to identify the factors that most influence present-day AWP and to predict responses to medium-term climate change under different assumptions. We find that if the composition and structure of New Zealand's forests were to remain unchanged over the next 30years, then AWP would increase by 6-23%, primarily as a result of physiological responses to warmer temperatures (with no appreciable effect of changing rainfall). However, if warmth-requiring trees were able to migrate into currently cooler areas and if denser canopies were able to form, then a different AWP response is likely: forests growing in the cool mountain environments would show a 30% increase in AWP, while those in the lowland would hardly respond (on average, -3% when mean annual temperature exceeds 8.0 degrees C). We conclude that response of wood production to anthropogenic climate change is not only dependent on the physiological responses of individual trees, but is highly contingent on whether forests adjust in composition and structure.

Author Keyword(s)
  • forest inventories
  • forest wood production
  • hierarchical Bayes
  • temperate rainforest
  • terrestrial carbon sink
  • tree growth
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • NET PRIMARY PRODUCTIVITY
  • NEW-ZEALAND
  • TREE GROWTH
  • TROPICAL FORESTS
  • CARBON SEQUESTRATION
  • PLANT RESPIRATION
  • NATURAL FOREST
  • TEMPERATURE
  • MODEL
  • LEAF
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
Adress(es)

[Coomes, David A.; Jucker, Tommaso; Lines, Emily R.] Univ Cambridge, Dept Plant Sci, Forest Ecol & Conservat Grp, Cambridge CB2 3EA, England; [Flores, Olivier] Univ Reunion, UMR Peuplements Vegetaux & Bioagresseursen Milieu, F-97715 St Denis Messageries, France; [Holdaway, Robert] Landcare Res, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand; [Lines, Emily R.] UCL, Dept Geog, London WC1E 6BT, England; [Vanderwel, Mark C.] Univ Florida, Dept Biol, Gainesville, FL 32611 USA

Reprint Adress

Coomes, DA (reprint author), Univ Cambridge, Dept Plant Sci, Forest Ecol & Conservat Grp, Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3EA, England.

Country(ies)
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
CNRS - Adress(es)
    Accession Number
    WOS:000344375700008
    uid:/8JWWGJGK
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