The positive carbon stocks–biodiversity relationship in forests: co-occurrence and drivers across five subclimates

Lecina-Diaz J., Alvarez A., Regos A., Drapeau P., Paquette A., Messier C., Retana J. (2018) The positive carbon stocks–biodiversity relationship in forests: co-occurrence and drivers across five subclimates. Ecological Applications. 28: 1481-1493.
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Doi: 10.1002/eap.1749

Resumen:

Carbon storage in forests and its ability to offset global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as biodiversity and its capacity to support ecosystem functions and services, are often considered separately in landscape planning. However, the potential synergies between them are currently poorly understood. Identifying the spatial patterns and factors driving their co-occurrence across different climatic zones is critical to more effectively conserve forest ecosystems at the regional level. Here, we integrated information of National Forest Inventories and Breeding Bird Atlases across Europe and North America (Spain and Quebec, respectively), covering five subclimates (steppe, dry Mediterranean, humid Mediterranean, boreal, and temperate). In particular, this study aimed to (1) determine the spatial patterns of both forest carbon stocks and biodiversity (bird richness, tree richness, and overall biodiversity) and the factors that influence them; (2) establish the relationships between forest carbon stocks and biodiversity; and (3) define and characterize the areas of high (hotspots) and low (coldspots) values of carbon and biodiversity, and ultimately quantify their spatial overlap. Our results show that the factors affecting carbon and biodiversity vary between regions and subclimates. The highest values of carbon and biodiversity were found in northern Spain (humid Mediterranean subclimate) and southern Quebec (temperate subclimate) where there was more carbon as climate conditions were less limiting. High density and structural diversity simultaneously favored carbon stocks, tree, and overall biodiversity, especially in isolated and mountainous areas, often associated with steeper slopes and low accessibility. In addition, the relationship between carbon stocks and biodiversity was positive in both regions and all subclimates, being stronger where climate is a limiting factor for forest growth. The spatial overlap between hotspots of carbon and biodiversity provides an excellent opportunity for landscape planning to maintain carbon stocks and conserve biodiversity. The variables positively affecting carbon and biodiversity were also driving the hotspots of both carbon and biodiversity, emphasizing the viability of “win-win” solutions. Our results highlight the need to jointly determine the spatial patterns of ecosystem services and biodiversity for an effective and sustainable planning of forest landscapes that simultaneously support conservation and mitigate climate change. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America

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Extreme fire severity patterns in topographic, convective and wind-driven historical wildfires of mediterranean pine forests

Lecina-Diaz J., Alvarez A., Retana J. (2014) Extreme fire severity patterns in topographic, convective and wind-driven historical wildfires of mediterranean pine forests. PLoS ONE. 9: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085127

Resumen:

Crown fires associated with extreme fire severity are extremely difficult to control. We have assessed fire severity using differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) from Landsat imagery in 15 historical wildfires of Pinus halepensis Mill. We have considered a wide range of innovative topographic, fuel and fire behavior variables with the purposes of (1) determining the variables that influence fire severity patterns among fires (considering the 15 wildfires together) and (2) ascertaining whether different variables affect extreme fire severity within the three fire types (topographic, convective and wind-driven fires). The among-fires analysis showed that fires in less arid climates and with steeper slopes had more extreme severity. In less arid conditions there was more crown fuel accumulation and closer forest structures, promoting high vertical and horizontal fuel continuity and extreme fire severity. The analyses carried out for each fire separately (within fires) showed more extreme fire severity in areas in northern aspects, with steeper slopes, with high crown biomass and in climates with more water availability. In northern aspects solar radiation was lower and fuels had less water limitation to growth which, combined with steeper slopes, produced more extreme severity. In topographic fires there was more extreme severity in northern aspects with steeper slopes and in areas with more water availability and high crown biomass; in convection-dominated fires there was also more extreme fire severity in northern aspects with high biomass; while in wind-driven fires there was only a slight interaction between biomass and water availability. This latter pattern could be related to the fact that wind-driven fires spread with high wind speed, which could have minimized the effect of other variables. In the future, and as a consequence of climate change, new zones with high crown biomass accumulated in non-common drought areas will be available to burn as extreme severity wildfires. © 2014 Lecina-Diaz et al.

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