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Publication Information

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Title: Silviculture and forest management under a rapidly changing climate

Author: Skinner, Carl N.

Date: 2007

Source: In: Powers, Robert F., tech. editor. Restoring fire-adapted ecosystems: proceedings of the 2005 national silviculture workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-203, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: p. 21-32

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Climate determines where and how forests grow. Particularly in the West, precipitation patterns regulate forest growth rates. Wet years promote "boom" vegetative conditions, while drought years promote "bust." Are managers safe in assuming that tomorrow’s climate will mimic that of the last several decades? For the last ~100 to ~150 years, climate has been warming at what appears to be an unusually rapid rate and is projected to continue into the foreseeable future. Increased temperatures are projected to lead to broad-scale alteration of storm tracks changing precipitation patterns in both seasonality and amounts. Multiple lines of paleoecological data show that such changes in the past, which were rarely as rapid, were accompanied by major reorganization of vegetation at continental scales. Exercises in modeling of possible ecological responses have shown the complexity in understanding potential responses of forests. Additionally, these exercises indicate that dramatic changes in natural disturbance processes are likely. Indeed, some believe that the responses of disturbance regimes to climate change may be emerging in the more frequent outbreaks of very large fires, widespread tree die-off across the southwest, expansive insect infestations in the Rocky Mountains, and more rapid and earlier melting of snow packs through the West. Developing both short- and long-term forest management responses will be challenging. Therefore, silviculturists must be aware of the nature of and implications of climate change in order to develop management strategies that may help to reduce adverse effects while sustaining healthy, productive forests.

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Skinner, Carl N. 2007. Silviculture and forest management under a rapidly changing climate. In: Powers, Robert F., tech. editor. Restoring fire-adapted ecosystems: proceedings of the 2005 national silviculture workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-203, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: p. 21-32

 


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