Approaches to modeling landscape-scale drought-induced forest mortality

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Drought stress is an important cause of tree mortality in forests, and drought-induced disturbance events are projected to become more common in the future due to climate change. Landscape Disturbance and Succession Models (LDSM) are becoming widely used to project climate change impacts on forests, including potential interactions with natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and to explore the efficacy of alternative management actions to mitigate negative consequences of global changes on forests and ecosystem services. Recent studies incorporating drought-mortality effects into LDSMs have projected significant potential changes in forest composition and carbon storage, largely due to differential impacts of drought on tree species and interactions with other disturbance agents. In this chapter, we review how drought affects forest ecosystems and the different ways drought effects have been modeled (both spatially and aspatially) in the past. Building on those efforts, we describe several approaches to modeling drought effects in LDSMs, discuss advantages and shortcomings of each, and include two case studies for illustration. The first approach features the use of empirically derived relationships between measures of drought and the loss of tree biomass to drought-induced mortality. The second uses deterministic rules of species mortality for given drought events to project changes in species composition and forest distribution. A third approach is more mechanistic, simulating growth reductions and death caused by water stress. Because modeling of drought effects in LDSMs is still in its infancy, and because drought is expected to play an increasingly important role in forest health, further development of modeling drought-forest dynamics is urgently needed.
Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Approaches to modeling landscape-scale drought-induced forest mortality
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-19809-5
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 27 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Simulation modeling of forest landscape disturbances
First page 45
Last page 71
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