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      Increasing forest disturbances in Europe and their impact on carbon storage

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          Abstract

          Disturbances from wind, bark beetles, and wildfires have increased in Europe's forests throughout the 20(th) century (1). Climatic changes were identified as a main driver behind this increase (2), yet how the expected continuation of climate change will affect Europe's forest disturbance regime remains unresolved. Increasing disturbances could strongly impact the forest carbon budget (3,4), and are hypothesized to contribute to the recently observed carbon sink saturation in Europe's forests (5). Here we show that forest disturbance damage in Europe has continued to increase in the first decade of the 21(st) century. Based on an ensemble of climate change scenarios we find that damage from wind, bark beetles, and forest fires is likely to increase further in coming decades, and estimate the rate of increase to +0.91·10(6) m(3) of timber per year until 2030. We show that this intensification can offset the effect of management strategies aiming to increase the forest carbon sink, and calculate the disturbance-related reduction of the carbon storage potential in Europe's forests to be 503.4 Tg C in 2021-2030. Our results highlight the considerable carbon cycle feedbacks of changing disturbance regimes, and underline that future forest policy and management will require a stronger focus on disturbance risk and resilience.

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          Cross-scale Drivers of Natural Disturbances Prone to Anthropogenic Amplification: The Dynamics of Bark Beetle Eruptions

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            Disturbances and structural development of natural forest ecosystems with silvicultural implications, using Douglas-fir forests as an example

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              Climate-induced boreal forest change: Predictions versus current observations

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Climate Change
                Nature Clim Change
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1758-678X
                1758-6798
                September 2014
                August 3 2014
                September 2014
                : 4
                : 9
                : 806-810
                Article
                10.1038/nclimate2318
                25737744
                50060440-812f-4f19-802a-e5c4e936bab9
                © 2014

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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