Warning Signals of Adverse Interactions between Climate Change and Native Stressors in British Columbia Forests

We examine the direct effects of multiple disturbance agents on individual tree development and stand productivity in 15–40-year-old managed forests in British Columbia, Canada. Our primary interest was to establish a baseline assessment of damage in these forests and, especially, to focus on the degree to which biotic and abiotic stressors cause physical damage and diffuse mortality. Based on extensive climate data for the study area and the ecology of the disturbance agents we explore possible interactions between individual stressors and climate. Mean annual temperature increased by over 1 ◦C in the last century and annual precipitation increased by 8%, with that in the summer increasing by 18%. Disturbance agents were a central driver of mortality, growth and physical damage and their combined impact in lodgepole pine stands was as much as four times greater than expected particularly in the dominant trees most counted upon for stand productivity and timber supply. Climate-mediated disturbances accounted for five of the top six damage agent categories in terms of percent of basal area impacted but the lack of long-term disturbance monitoring data, a global information gap, limits our ability to conclusively link high damage rates to climatic changes.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Source URL https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/8/8/280
Author Woods, A., Coates, D., Watts, M., Foord, V. and E. Holtzman.
Data Steward BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development
Publication Year 2017