Understanding Climate Change Dynamics of Tree Species: Implications for Future Forests.

Resource Type
Anantha Prasad
John Pedlar
Matthew Peters
Steve Matthews
Louis Iverson
Dan McKenney
Bryce Adams
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This book chapter addresses how future forests will be shaped, in large part, by tree responses to climate change via mortality, migration, and adaptation. The authors first demonstrate the strong relationship between tree distributions and climate, and discuss various approaches for modeling this relationship under current and future climate. They then examine the potential role of tree migration (via seed dispersal) as a means of tracking shifting climate habitats, but conclude that most tree species will not be able to migrate quickly enough to keep pace with expected climate shifts. Alternatively, trees may be able to adapt in place to climate change. Studies have shown that northern tree populations have a high capacity to absorb temperature increases, which may bode well for these populations under climate change. Finally, human interventions such as assisted migration, wherein tree populations and/or species are intentionally moved to track climate change, are discussed as potential approaches for helping to maintain healthy and productive future forests.