Wednesday, February 26, 2020. 12:00 PM. Systematic Examination of Sensitivity and Thresholds in Growth of Tree Species to Potential Changes in Climate Patterns. Thomas Bonnot, University of Missouri. Sponsored by NE Climate Adaptation Science Center. Webinar Link.
There is increasing evidence that climate change is directly and indirectly affecting biological processes of trees and forests. Understanding the impacts of climate change on forest landscapes requires scaling up from climate impacts on tree-level processes. For example, the magnitude and variability of temperature and precipitation affect the establishment and growth of trees through many complex processes such as soil moisture availability and winter dormancy requirements. The cumulative impact of these affects may take decades to be realized, so simulation approaches are required to obtain any near-term assessment of effects. We developed approaches to model how local processes impacted by patterns in temperature and precipitation under climate change affect the tree growth among regions and over the long-term in the eastern U.S. Stand-based results for biomass and numbers of stems indicated that tree species were most sensitive to increases in minimum and maximum temperatures and reductions in monthly precipitation. The mechanisms through which these changes impacted stand growth varied by species and region and spanned geochemical, environmental, and physiological processes. We show that tree species are quite sensitive to potential changes in climatic factors and that this sensitivity manifested in different forms, including the presence of thresholds.