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      Forest disturbances under climate change

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="P1">Forest disturbances are sensitive to climate. However, our understanding of disturbance dynamics in response to climatic changes remains incomplete, particularly regarding large-scale patterns, interaction effects and dampening feedbacks. Here we provide a global synthesis of climate change effects on important abiotic (fire, drought, wind, snow and ice) and biotic (insects and pathogens) disturbance agents. Warmer and drier conditions particularly facilitate fire, drought and insect disturbances, while warmer and wetter conditions increase disturbances from wind and pathogens. Widespread interactions between agents are likely to amplify disturbances, while indirect climate effects such as vegetation changes can dampen long-term disturbance sensitivities to climate. Future changes in disturbance are likely to be most pronounced in coniferous forests and the boreal biome. We conclude that both ecosystems and society should be prepared for an increasingly disturbed future of forests. </p>

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          Most cited references74

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          Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions.

          The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450-600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the "dust bowl" era and inexorable sea level rise. Thermal expansion of the warming ocean provides a conservative lower limit to irreversible global average sea level rise of at least 0.4-1.0 m if 21st century CO(2) concentrations exceed 600 ppmv and 0.6-1.9 m for peak CO(2) concentrations exceeding approximately 1,000 ppmv. Additional contributions from glaciers and ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise are uncertain but may equal or exceed several meters over the next millennium or longer.
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            Climate Change and Forest Disturbances

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              Ecosystem service supply and vulnerability to global change in Europe.

              Global change will alter the supply of ecosystem services that are vital for human well-being. To investigate ecosystem service supply during the 21st century, we used a range of ecosystem models and scenarios of climate and land-use change to conduct a Europe-wide assessment. Large changes in climate and land use typically resulted in large changes in ecosystem service supply. Some of these trends may be positive (for example, increases in forest area and productivity) or offer opportunities (for example, "surplus land" for agricultural extensification and bioenergy production). However, many changes increase vulnerability as a result of a decreasing supply of ecosystem services (for example, declining soil fertility, declining water availability, increasing risk of forest fires), especially in the Mediterranean and mountain regions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Climate Change
                Nature Climate change
                Springer Nature
                1758-678X
                1758-6798
                May 31 2017
                May 31 2017
                : 7
                : 6
                : 395-402
                Article
                10.1038/nclimate3303
                5572641
                28861124
                478a5ce5-4747-43cb-82e7-860c5279349c
                © 2017
                History

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