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Climatic Disequilibrium Threatens Conservation Priority Forests

Huntley, Brian; Allen, Judy R. M.; Bennie, Jonathan; Collingham, Yvonne C.; Miller, Paul A. LU and Suggitt, Andrew J. (2017) In Conservation Letters
Abstract

We test the hypothesis that climatic changes since 1800 have resulted in unrealized potential vegetation changes that represent a "climatic debt" for many ecosystems. Caledonian pinewoods, an EU priority forest type, are used as a model system to explore potential impacts of two centuries of climatic change upon sites of conservation importance and surrounding landscapes. Using methods that estimate topographic microclimate, current and preindustrial climates were estimated for 50 m grid cells and simulations made using a dynamic vegetation model. Core Caledonian pinewood areas are now less suitable for growth of pine and more favorable for oak than in 1800, whereas landscapes as a whole are on average more favorable for both. The most... (More)

We test the hypothesis that climatic changes since 1800 have resulted in unrealized potential vegetation changes that represent a "climatic debt" for many ecosystems. Caledonian pinewoods, an EU priority forest type, are used as a model system to explore potential impacts of two centuries of climatic change upon sites of conservation importance and surrounding landscapes. Using methods that estimate topographic microclimate, current and preindustrial climates were estimated for 50 m grid cells and simulations made using a dynamic vegetation model. Core Caledonian pinewood areas are now less suitable for growth of pine and more favorable for oak than in 1800, whereas landscapes as a whole are on average more favorable for both. The most favorable areas for pine are now mainly outside areas designated to conserve historical pinewoods. A paradigm shift is needed in formulating conservation strategies to avoid catastrophic losses of this habitat, and of many others globally with trees or other long-lived perennials as keystone species.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Caledonian pinewoods, Climatic debt, Ecological inertia, LPJ-GUESS, Preindustrial climate, Scotland, Special areas of conservation
in
Conservation Letters
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85014218737
ISSN
1755-263X
DOI
10.1111/conl.12349
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
76e2327b-fae2-4fb6-9c2d-259a949ebdc2
date added to LUP
2017-03-15 14:12:08
date last changed
2018-01-07 11:55:25
@article{76e2327b-fae2-4fb6-9c2d-259a949ebdc2,
  abstract     = {<p>We test the hypothesis that climatic changes since 1800 have resulted in unrealized potential vegetation changes that represent a "climatic debt" for many ecosystems. Caledonian pinewoods, an EU priority forest type, are used as a model system to explore potential impacts of two centuries of climatic change upon sites of conservation importance and surrounding landscapes. Using methods that estimate topographic microclimate, current and preindustrial climates were estimated for 50 m grid cells and simulations made using a dynamic vegetation model. Core Caledonian pinewood areas are now less suitable for growth of pine and more favorable for oak than in 1800, whereas landscapes as a whole are on average more favorable for both. The most favorable areas for pine are now mainly outside areas designated to conserve historical pinewoods. A paradigm shift is needed in formulating conservation strategies to avoid catastrophic losses of this habitat, and of many others globally with trees or other long-lived perennials as keystone species.</p>},
  author       = {Huntley, Brian and Allen, Judy R. M. and Bennie, Jonathan and Collingham, Yvonne C. and Miller, Paul A. and Suggitt, Andrew J.},
  issn         = {1755-263X},
  keyword      = {Caledonian pinewoods,Climatic debt,Ecological inertia,LPJ-GUESS,Preindustrial climate,Scotland,Special areas of conservation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Conservation Letters},
  title        = {Climatic Disequilibrium Threatens Conservation Priority Forests},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12349},
  year         = {2017},
}