FOREST ECOLOGY

Temperate forest dynamics and climate

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Science  27 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6362, pp. 494-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6362.494-a

Temperate forest composition and disturbance regimes may shift during climate change, with consequences for the climate system.

PHOTO: HERBERT KRATKY/IMAGE BROKER/AURORA PHOTOS

Climate change affects biota, and biotic effects feed into the climate system. In a modeling study, Thom et al. investigated how the present cooling effect of temperate forest on local climate might change over the next 200 years as climate warming shifts the patterns of forest disturbance. Their model, applied to temperate forest in Austria, indicates marked nonlinear changes in tree species composition and disturbance regimes over time, with potential reductions in the climate regulation function of the forest. The results also indicate how the composition of these forests might best be managed to achieve optimal levels of carbon storage, evaporative cooling, and albedo to mitigate climate change.

Ecol. Monogr. 10.1002/ecm.1272 (2017).

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