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Modeling long-term tree growth curves in response to warming climate: test cases from a subtropical mountain forest and a tropical rainforest in Mexico

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Abstract:

The Earth’s temperature has increased 0.6 °C over the last 100 years, and further climate change is predicted to potentially raise it by 3.5 °C over the next century. More than half of the global annual net primary production of biomass is estimated to occur in the tropics, especially tropical evergreen forest. In temperate forests, increasing temperature may extend the non-frost growing season, and thus increase the CO2 sequestration rate, but some authors have also suggested a negative impact of warming in tropical forests from decreased photosynthetic activity. Using the PL model (Ricker and del Río 2004), we forecast growth of two Mexican tree species after climate warming. The model predicts the high-mountain species Pinus hartwegii Lindl. to decrease its expected relative growth throughout its lifetime by 10.6% as a consequence of a 0.6 °C temperature increase; in contrast, the tropical rainforest species Diospyros digyna Jacq. is predicted to increase its expected relative growth throughout its lifetime by 25.4%. The key factor appears to be the expected relationship between temperature and precipitation, rather than temperature alone. While one cannot expect a universal response across sites, some standing tropical rainforests such as those at Los Tuxtlas in Mexico may constitute a carbon sink in a changing climate.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/X06-304

Publication date: 2007-05-03

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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