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Applicability of Predictive Models of Drought-Induced Tree Mortality between the Midwest and Northeast United States

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Regression models developed in the upper Midwest (United States) to predict drought-induced tree mortality from measures of drought (Palmer Drought Severity Index) were tested in the northeastern United States and found inadequate. The most likely cause of this result is that long drought events were rare in the Northeast during the period when inventory data were available. Therefore, new predictive models of drought mortality for the Northeast were built using USDA Forest Service inventory data and national climate data from 1969 to 2007. The Standardized Precipitation Index was better correlated with tree mortality in the Northeast than the Palmer Drought Severity Index, and new models were estimated. The reliability of the northeast models varied considerably by drought-sensitivity class, with the model for drought-intolerant species being particularly suspect. I argue that the Midwest models may nevertheless have some value in the Northeast because my tests were unable to cover the range of drought conditions under which the models were developed, there is no obvious reason why the same species should respond differently in a very similar ecological province, and some northeast models are very weak.

Keywords: Laurentian mixed forest province; Northeastern Mixed Forest Province; climate change; drought stress; forest biomass

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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