Responses of tree species to climate warming at different spatial scales

Liang, Yu; He, Hong; Lewis, Bernard
August 2011
Chinese Geographical Science;Aug2011, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p427
Academic Journal
Tree species respond to climate change at multiple scales, such as species physiological response at fine scale and species distribution (quantified by percent area) at broader spatial scale. At a given spatial scale, species physiological response and distribution can be correlated positively or negatively. The consistency of such correlation relationships at different spatial scales determines whether species responses derived from local scales can be extrapolated to broader spatial scales. In this study, we used a coupled modeling approach that coupled a plot-level ecosystem process model (LINKAGES) with a spatially explicit landscape model (LANDIS). We investigated species physiological responses and distribution responses to climate warming at the local, zonal and landscape scales respectively, and examined how species physiological response and distribution correlated at each corresponding scale and whether the correlations were consistent among these scales. The results indicate that for zonal and warming-sensitive species, the correlations between species physiological response and distribution are consistent at these spatial scales, and therefore the research results of vegetation response to climate warming at the local scale can be extrapolated to the zonal and landscape scales. By contrast, for zonal and warming-insensitive species the correlations among different spatial scales are consistent at some spatial scales but at other scales. The results also suggest that the results of azonal species at the local scale near their distribution boundaries can not be extrapolated simply to broader scales due to stronger responses to climate warming in those boundary regions.


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