Managing stand density to enhance the adaptability of Scots pine stands to climate change: A modelling approach

Ameztegui A., Cabon A., De Cáceres M., Coll L. (2017) Managing stand density to enhance the adaptability of Scots pine stands to climate change: A modelling approach. Ecological Modelling. 356: 141-150.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.04.006

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In the Mediterranean region most climatic forecasts predict longer and more intense drought periods that can affect tree growth and mortality over broad geographic regions. One of the silvicultural treatments that has gained currency to lessen the impacts of climatic change is the reduction of stand density by thinning. However, we lack information on how the response of forest stands to different thinning treatments will be affected by climate change, and on the post-thinning temporal dynamics of water balance, specifically blue and green water. We adopted a modelling approach to explore the long-term effects of different thinning intensities on forest dynamics and water balance under climate change scenarios, coupling an individual-based model of forest dynamics (SORTIE-ND) with a mechanistic model of soil moisture dynamics and plant drought stress. We used as a case study three Scots pine plots across a gradient of climatic conditions, and we assessed the effect of site, three climatic scenarios and eight thinning intensities on tree growth, stand productivity, tree drought stress and blue water. The best thinning intensity in terms of stand productivity was obtained when between 20 and 40% of the basal area was removed, whereas the final stand stock rapidly decreased at higher thinning intensities. Moreover, the decrease in final basal area occurred at lower thinning intensities the drier the site conditions. Moderate and heavy thinnings (>30%) doubled basal area increment (BAI) of the following years in all the plots, although the effect vanished after 30–40 years, independently of the site and climate scenario. As expected, thinning was simulated to have an overall positive effect on the blue water yield and tree water status, which increased and also tended to last longer for higher thinning intensities. However, the magnitude of this effect on tree water status was most dependent on the site and climatic scenario, as drier conditions generally raised stronger and longer lasting reductions in drought stress for a given thinning intensity. Furthermore, our results highlight the existence of a site- and climate-dependent trade-off between the gain in stand productivity and the improvement in tree water status obtained by thinning, particularly for moderate or heavy thinning intensities. Our simulations suggest that thinning is a useful management tool to mitigate climate change but strongly argue against the application of general recipes across sites and appeals for carefully taking into consideration local climatic trajectories for management planning. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Llegeix més

A spatial allocation procedure to model land-use/land-cover changes: Accounting for occurrence and spread processes

Aquilué, N., De Cáceres, M., Fortin, M.-J., Fall, A., Brotons, L. (2017) A spatial allocation procedure to model land-use/land-cover changes: Accounting for occurrence and spread processes. Ecological Modelling. 344: 73-86.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.11.005

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Cumulative effects of fire and drought in Mediterranean ecosystems

Batllori E., Dećaceres M., Brotons L., Ackerly D.D., Moritz M.A., Lloret F. (2017) Cumulative effects of fire and drought in Mediterranean ecosystems. Ecosphere. 8: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1906

Resum:

The occurrence of multiple disturbances can jointly affect the recovery capacity of ecosystems, potentially leading to changes in vegetation dynamics or loss of resilience. The effects of interacting disturbances on ecosystems are, however, not well understood. We use a model system based on Mediterraneantype ecosystems (MTEs) to examine how the interplay between vegetation regeneration traits and compound, stochastic disturbances modulate ecosystem dynamics. We developed a state-and-transition simulation model including two tree species with contrasting regeneration strategies (seeder vs. resprouter) and a shrubland formation. We aim to assess potential compositional switches under contrasted scenarios of compound fire-drought regimes, and to characterize the cumulative effects of fire-drought (synergism vs. antagonism) relative to the effects of individual disturbance regimes. Our simulation results indicate that interaction between moderate fire and sporadic drought recurrence-as opposed to chronic dryness-can act as a strong mechanism generating highly heterogeneous landscapes in which different regeneration types coexist, as observed in MTEs. Resprouters dominated under individual, moderate disturbance regimes of fire or drought, whereas the interaction of the two disturbances promoted the longterm coexistence of both tree regeneration strategies. However, shrubland expansion and persistence at the expanse of forests was favored by increases in drought recurrence and associated fire-drought interactions, highlighting the potential for important vegetation changes in MTEs under climate change. Overall, the cumulative effects of fire and drought can lead to distinct landscape configurations under moderate disturbance regimes that are otherwise only attained under high frequency of individual disturbances. At the ecosystem level, however, we suggest that disturbance-induced vegetation dynamics can modify vegetation sensitivity and resilience to further disturbances precluding the prevalence of synergistic effects of the two disturbances. © 2017 Batllori et al.

Llegeix més

The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project

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(2017) The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 145-188.
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Doi: 10.1002/ece3.2579

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