Posted June 05, 2018 09:17:18 It seems a lot of people would like to see trees grow faster and become more resilient to climate change.
But are these goals realistic?
The answer is that while some would like trees to grow faster, most forests in the world are already far more vulnerable to drought, rising temperatures and other environmental pressures.
We are all familiar with the story of how a forest has to be cleared and harvested to grow again, with trees being chopped down in the hope that their roots will eventually be replaced by new trees.
But it’s not always so simple.
The same principles that make trees grow in the forest also make them prone to collapse.
And that means that forests need to be protected, even if this means removing trees from the landscape entirely.
This is the view of Pauline Abrantes, a forest scientist at the University of Southern California and one of the authors of a new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change that explores how forested areas could adapt to changing climate and how their future could look.
In her paper, Abrants and her co-authors show that forest ecosystems are already adapting, with changes in tree species being a primary driver.
“I don’t think this is a novel idea,” says Abranas, who has worked with forest managers, landowners and conservationists to develop strategies for managing forests for the future.
“This is an example of how we are already trying to make sure the forest is resilient to the changes that we are going through.”
What makes the forests resilient is that they are already very resilient.
When the climate warms, trees are more likely to recover, and the growth of a forest will increase.
But trees are also vulnerable to climate stress.
The warmer the climate, the more moisture in the soil and in the air, which means more trees will be lost and less of the nutrients will be available to the plant.
The more trees are lost, the slower the growth rate of plants in a forest.
So in some regions of the world, trees can also be more vulnerable when temperatures rise.
This could lead to the loss of trees, and also the loss and fragmentation of forests.
“These processes are already taking place, but the effects of climate change are going to have a big impact on the resilience of forests in some places,” says Elizabeth Pascual, an expert in global environmental policy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“The more the tree canopy is affected, the less resilient it is.”
The authors found that forests that have been in good condition for many years and that have already recovered in areas where the climate is warmer are also more likely than others to recover in areas that are already in bad shape.
“We have been able to show that good forest conditions are already helping to recover forests in places where the temperature has risen,” says Pascuel.
The forests of the Amazon basin, which includes Brazil and Peru, are among the best examples of this.
“It’s a big part of the landscape, so if you look at this forest, you can see that it’s very resilient to temperature changes,” she says.
“In some places, the temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius [104 degrees Fahrenheit] [and] that is really warm.
In other places it is below 20 degrees Celsius.”
Abrans has found that the ability to recover from climate stress is not dependent on what species of trees are present in the landscape.
And she says that the more species of plants that are present, the better the resilience.
“You are getting more resilient by species,” she explains.
“A forest is a landscape, it’s a mosaic of different ecosystems, and they all need to function and thrive in the environment.”
“It really depends on the trees that are there.”
How will climate change affect forests in different regions of Asia?
The paper also looks at how climate change could affect the distribution of forests across the world.
As climate change intensifies, forests will need to adapt to different conditions.
“If the climate continues to warm, and more forests are affected, we could see forest losses in different parts of the country,” says Andrew Wilson, an ecologist at the National University of Singapore.
“What we are seeing is that it could be a little bit harder to get rainforest and a little less rainforest, so this could have a little more impact on regional forests in particular.”
For example, the authors found there is more rainforest in the western United States, but in the Pacific Northwest, there are less rainforests and more forest cover.
It’s not just climate change that will make forests more vulnerable.
As forests become more resistant to climate stresses, they could also become more vulnerable in the event of extreme weather events, such as droughts.
“When you look over the long term, you see that a lot more forest is going to be affected in the tropics and subtropics, and you also see a lot less rain in the summer,” says