Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth

Noah D. Charney, Flurin Babst, Benjamin Poulter, Sydne Record, Valerie M Trouet, David Frank, Brian Enquist, Margaret E.K. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Predicting long-term trends in forest growth requires accurate characterisation of how the relationship between forest productivity and climatic stress varies across climatic regimes. Using a network of over two million tree-ring observations spanning North America and a space-for-time substitution methodology, we forecast climate impacts on future forest growth. We explored differing scenarios of increased water-use efficiency (WUE) due to CO2-fertilisation, which we simulated as increased effective precipitation. In our forecasts: (1) climate change negatively impacted forest growth rates in the interior west and positively impacted forest growth along the western, southeastern and northeastern coasts; (2) shifting climate sensitivities offset positive effects of warming on high-latitude forests, leaving no evidence for continued ‘boreal greening’; and (3) it took a 72% WUE enhancement to compensate for continentally averaged growth declines under RCP 8.5. Our results highlight the importance of locally adapted forest management strategies to handle regional differences in growth responses to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1128
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Fingerprint

forest growth
twenty first century
climate
water use efficiency
climate change
growth rings
space and time
forest management
climate effect
growth response
tree ring
coasts
substitution
warming
productivity
methodology
coast

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • dendrochronology
  • forecasting
  • forests
  • growth
  • modelling
  • trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Charney, N. D., Babst, F., Poulter, B., Record, S., Trouet, V. M., Frank, D., ... Evans, M. E. K. (2016). Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth. Ecology Letters, 19(9), 1119-1128. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12650

Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth. / Charney, Noah D.; Babst, Flurin; Poulter, Benjamin; Record, Sydne; Trouet, Valerie M; Frank, David; Enquist, Brian; Evans, Margaret E.K.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 19, No. 9, 01.09.2016, p. 1119-1128.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Charney, Noah D. ; Babst, Flurin ; Poulter, Benjamin ; Record, Sydne ; Trouet, Valerie M ; Frank, David ; Enquist, Brian ; Evans, Margaret E.K. / Observed forest sensitivity to climate implies large changes in 21st century North American forest growth. In: Ecology Letters. 2016 ; Vol. 19, No. 9. pp. 1119-1128.
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