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Projecting canopy cover change in Tasmanian eucalypt forests using dynamically downscaled regional climate models


Williamson, GJ and Prior, LD and Grose, MR and Harris, RMB and Bowman, DMJS, Projecting canopy cover change in Tasmanian eucalypt forests using dynamically downscaled regional climate models, Regional Environmental Change, 14, (4) pp. 1373-1386. ISSN 1436-3798 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10113-013-0577-5


Loss of forest cover is a likely consequence of climate change in many parts of the world. To test the vulnerability of eucalypt forests in Australia’s island state of Tasmania, we modelled tree canopy cover in the period 2070–2099 under a high-emission scenario using the current climate–canopy cover relationship in conjunction with output from a dynamically downscaled regional climate model. The current climate–canopy cover relationship was quantified using Random Forest modelling, and the future climate projections were provided by three dynamically downscaled general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Three GCMs were used to show a range of projections for the selected scenario. We also explored the sensitivity of key endemic and non-endemic Tasmanian eucalypts to climate change. All GCMs suggested that canopy cover should remain stable (proportional cover change <&Nbsp;10%) across ~7&Nbsp;0% of the Tasmanian eucalypt forests. However, there were geographic areas where all models projected a decline in canopy cover due to increased summer temperatures and lower precipitation, and in addition, all models projected an increase in canopy cover in the coldest part of the state. The model projections differed substantially for other areas. Tasmanian endemic species appear vulnerable to climate change, but species that also occur on the mainland are likely to be less affected. Given these changes, restoration and carbon sequestration plantings must consider the species and provenances most suitable for future, rather than present, climates.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Eucalyptus, forest biomass, climate change, general circulation model, temperature, rainfall,pyrogeograhy, fire, feedbacks
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Grose, MR (Dr Michael Grose)
UTAS Author:Harris, RMB (Dr Rebecca Harris)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:90000
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2014-03-21
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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