Ecological Consequences of Droughts in Boreal Forests

Authored by: Changhui Peng

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447

10.4324/9781315818290.ch34

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Abstract

Climatic warming during the past century has led to a variety of responses by terrestrial ecosystems, including changes in net primary productivity (Ciais et al., 2005; Zhao and Running, 2010), forest growth (Barber et al., 2000), carbon balances (Piao et al., 2008; Arnone et al., 2008), plant phenology (Cleland et al., 2007), and species distributions towards the poles (Parmesan et al., 1999). These changes have been accompanied by increases in forest dieback and mortality around the world (Allen et al., 2010; Phillips et al., 2009; van Mantgem et al., 2009; Carnicer et al., 2011; Peng et al., 2011). Ongoing climate change has resulted in increases in climate extremes, such as droughts, heat waves, heavy rainfall, and frosts (AchutaRao et al., 2013). These unprecedented climate extremes can trigger a suite of ecological processes to regulate plant and ecosystem responses and could affect plant growth, community structure, and ecosystem functions and services in fundamentally different ways from that the normal climatic variability does (Figure 34.1). Several recent reviews synthesized plant phonological and physiological processes (Reyer et al., 2013; Niu et al., 2014) and ecosystem carbon cycles (Reichstein et al., 2013; van der Molen et al., 2011) in response to extreme climate, which greatly advance our understanding of those subjects.

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