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Publication Information

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Title: Climate change in the age of humans

Author: Stager, J. Curt.;

Date: 2014

Source: In: Sample, V. Alaric; Bixler, R. Patrick, eds. Forest conservation and management in the Anthropocene: Conference proceedings. Proceedings. RMRS-P-71. Fort Collins, CO: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 11-25.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

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

Description: The Anthropocene epoch presents a mix of old and new challenges for the world’s forests. Climatic instability has typified most of the Cenozoic Era but today’s situation is unique due to the presence of billions of humans on the planet. The potential rate and magnitude of future warming driven by continued fossil fuel combustion could be unprecedented during the last 56 million years, and the recovery of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to pre-industrial conditions is likely to last tens of thousands of years. Paleoecological records suggest that responses of forests to human-driven climate change may be complicated by differential mobility and resilience among species as well as by the variable distribution of soil, moisture, and light regimes along latitudinal gradients. The future will be difficult to model and predict precisely, not only due to the inherent complexity of the climate system but also because of uncertainty regarding the dispersal and adaptation of forest species as well as the possible development of new technologies, cultural changes, and the raising of artificial barriers to adaptive migration. Nevertheless, the Anthropocene epoch is a useful concept for re-envisioning modern humankind as a powerful force of nature that will influence the distribution and composition of ecosystems for many millennia to come.

Keywords: forest conservation, management, Anthropocene, climate change

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Stager, J. Curt. 2014. Climate change in the age of humans. In: Sample, V. Alaric; Bixler, R. Patrick, eds. Forest conservation and management in the Anthropocene: Conference proceedings. Proceedings. RMRS-P-71. Fort Collins, CO: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 11-25.

 


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