Grant funding was provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Additional support was provided by Portland State University, Department of Environmental Science and Management
Forest biodiversity -- Climatic factors, Forest management -- Michigan, Forest management -- Minnesota, Forests -- Climatic factors, Climate change, Microbial diversity, Microbial functional stability
Within the time frame of the longevity of tree species, climate change will change faster than the ability of natural tree migration. Migration lags may result in reduced productivity and reduced diversity in forests under current management and climate change. We evaluated the efficacy of planting climate-suitable tree species (CSP), those tree species with current or historic distributions immediately south of a focal landscape, to maintain or increase aboveground biomass, productivity, and species and functional diversity. We modeled forest change with the LANDIS-II forest simulation model for 100 years (2000–2100) at a 2-ha cell resolution and five-year time steps within two landscapes in the Great Lakes region (northeastern Minnesota and northern lower Michigan, USA). We compared current climate to low- and high-emission futures. We simulated a low-emission climate future with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 B1 emission scenario and the Parallel Climate Model Global Circulation Model (GCM). We simulated a high-emission climate future with the IPCC A1FI emission scenario and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) GCM. We compared current forest management practices (business-asusual) to CSP management. In the CSP scenario, we simulated a target planting of 5.28% and 4.97% of forested area per five-year time step in the Minnesota and Michigan landscapes, respectively. We found that simulated CSP species successfully established in both landscapes under all climate scenarios. The presence of CSP species generally increased simulated aboveground biomass. Species diversity increased due to CSP; however, the effect on functional diversity was variable. Because the planted species were functionally similar to many native species, CSP did not result in a consistent increase nor decrease in functional diversity. These results provide an assessment of the potential efficacy and limitations of CSP management. These results have management implications for sites where diversity and productivity are expected to decline. Future efforts to restore a specific species or forest type may not be possible, but CSP may sustain a more general ecosystem service (e.g., aboveground biomass).
Matthew J. Duveneck and Robert M. Scheller 2015. Climate-suitable planting as a strategy for maintaining forest productivity and functional diversity. Ecological Applications 25:1653–1668.