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Projecting Future Climate Effects on Cottonwood and Willow Seed Dispersal and Tree Regeneration in Western Riparian Forests

Projecting Climate Change Effects on Cottonwood and Willow Seed Dispersal Phenology, Flood Timing, and Seedling Recruitment in Western Riparian Forests


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Throughout western North America, warming associated with climate change is leading to both earlier spring peak streamflows and earlier seed dispersal, potentially reducing seedling establishment and in turn reducing the quality of riparian (near-river) forests, which provide critical habitat for diverse birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, and food and shade for fish and other aquatic animals. This project aimed to predict these effects of climate change on cottonwood and willow tree regeneration in western forests by linking models of seed dispersal timing, streamflow hydrology, and seedling establishment, focusing on the upper South Platte River Basin as a study area. Results are expected to help land managers anticipate [...]

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“Cottonwood trees, Ouray National Wildlife Refuge - Credit: Ryan Mollnow, USFWS”
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“Cottonwood flower, Bryan Olson”
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