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Title

Projected vegetation changes for the American Southwest: combined dynamic modeling and bioclimatic-envelope approach

Publication Year

2012

Author(s)
  • Notaro, Michael
  • Mauss, Adrien
  • Williams, John W.
Source
ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS Volume: 22 Issue: 4 Pages: 1365-1388 Published: 2012
ISSN
1051-0761
Abstract

This study focuses on potential impacts of 21st century climate change on vegetation in the Southwest United States, based on debiased and interpolated climate projections from 17 global climate models used in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among these models a warming trend is universal, but projected changes in precipitation vary in sign and magnitude. Two independent methods are applied: a dynamic global vegetation model to assess changes in plant functional types and bioclimatic envelope modeling to assess changes in individual tree and shrub species and biodiversity. The former approach investigates broad responses of plant functional types to climate change, while considering competition, disturbances, and carbon fertilization, while the latter approach focuses on the response of individual plant species, and net biodiversity, to climate change. The dynamic model simulates a region-wide reduction in vegetation cover during the 21st century, with a partial replacement of evergreen trees with grasses in the mountains of Colorado and Utah, except at the highest elevations, where tree cover increases. Across southern Arizona, central New Mexico, and eastern Colorado, grass cover declines, in some cases abruptly. Due to the prevalent warming trend among all 17 climate models, vegetation cover declines in the 21st century, with the greatest vegetation losses associated with models that project a drying trend. The inclusion of the carbon fertilization effect largely ameliorates the projected vegetation loss. Based on bioclimatic envelope modeling for the 21st century, the number of tree and shrub species that are expected to experience robust declines in range likely outweighs the number of species that are expected to expand in range. Dramatic shifts in plant species richness are projected, with declines in the high-elevation evergreen forests, increases in the eastern New Mexico prairies, and a northward shift of the Sonoran Desert biodiversity maximum.

Author Keyword(s)
  • bioclimatic envelope model
  • biodiversity
  • climate change
  • dynamic global vegetation model
  • Southwest United States
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • WESTERN UNITED-STATES
  • SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELS
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • NORTH-AMERICA
  • TERRESTRIAL BIOSPHERE
  • SOUTHERN OSCILLATION
  • SUMMER PRECIPITATION
  • MIGRATION CAPACITY
  • WATER AVAILABILITY
  • ROCKY-MOUNTAINS
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
Adress(es)

[Notaro, Michael; Williams, John W.] Univ Wisconsin, Nelson Inst, Ctr Climat Res, Madison, WI 53706 USA; [Mauss, Adrien] Ecole Natl Meteorol, F-31057 Toulouse 1, France; [Williams, John W.] Univ Wisconsin, Dept Geog, Madison, WI 53706 USA

Reprint Adress

Notaro, M (reprint author), Univ Wisconsin, Nelson Inst, Ctr Climat Res, 1225 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53706 USA.

Country(ies)
  • France
  • United States
CNRS - Adress(es)
    Accession Number
    WOS:000305836600024
    uid:/VSDNNJC4
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