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Projected future vegetation changes for the Northwest United States and Southwest Canada at a fine spatial resolution using a dynamic global vegetation model

Dates

Publication Date
Start Date
2070
End Date
2099

Citation

Shafer, S.L., Bartlein, P.J., Gray, E.M., & Pelltier, R.T. 2015. Projected Future Vegetation Changes for the Northwest United States and Southwest Canada at a Fine Spatial Resolution Using a Dynamic Global Vegetation Model. http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F73X84PH.

Summary

Future climate change may significantly alter the distributions of many plant taxa. The effects of climate change may be particularly large in mountainous regions where climate can vary significantly with elevation. Understanding potential future vegetation changes in these regions requires methods that can resolve vegetation responses to climate change at fine spatial resolutions. This research was projected using three models: cgcm31, hadley, and current. We used LPJ, a dynamic global vegetation model, to assess potential future vegetation changes for a large topographically complex area of the northwest United States and southwest Canada (38.0–58.0°N latitude by 136.6–103.0°W longitude). LPJ is a process-based vegetation model that [...]

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Mechanistic Vegetation Model.lpk 396.71 KB

Purpose

The aim of this study was to simulate vegetation responses to climate change at a fine spatial resolution across our topographically complex study area that includes vegetation ranging from xeric vegetation in the interior western United States to mesic vegetation along the Pacific Coast. LPJ, a dynamic global vegetation model, was able to accurately simulate historical vegetation for many parts of the study area when compared with both potential natural vegetation data for the United States and remotely sensed land cover data, providing confidence in the model's ability to simulate vegetation at fine spatial resolutions in topographically complex regions. The simulated future vegetation changes displayed fine spatial-scale patterns of contraction, expansion, and persistence of vegetation, all mediated by the region’s topography. The results of this study improve our understanding of the potential magnitude and complexity of future vegetation changes that may occur in mountainous regions, with the caveat that many uncertainties associated with both projections of future climates and potential vegetation responses to climate change have yet to be resolved.

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