A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests

Fensham, Rod, Allen, Craig. D, Macalady, Alison. K, Chechouni, Haroun, Bachelet, Dominique, McDowell, Nate, Vennetier, Michel, Kitzberger, Thomas, Rigling, Andreas, Breshears, David, Hogg, E. H, Gonzalez, Patrick, Zhang, Zhen, Castro, Jorge, Demidova, Natalia, Lim, Jong-Hwan, Allard, Gillian, Running, Steven, Semerci, Akkin and Cobb, Neil (2010) A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 259 4: 660-684. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2009.09.001

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Author Fensham, Rod
Allen, Craig. D
Macalady, Alison. K
Chechouni, Haroun
Bachelet, Dominique
McDowell, Nate
Vennetier, Michel
Kitzberger, Thomas
Rigling, Andreas
Breshears, David
Hogg, E. H
Gonzalez, Patrick
Zhang, Zhen
Castro, Jorge
Demidova, Natalia
Lim, Jong-Hwan
Allard, Gillian
Running, Steven
Semerci, Akkin
Cobb, Neil
Title A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests
Formatted title
A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests
Journal name Forest Ecology and Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-1127
Publication date 2010-02
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.09.001
Volume 259
Issue 4
Start page 660
End page 684
Total pages 25
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
069902 Global Change Biology
820104 Native Forests
829802 Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Plant Production
9603 Climate and Climate Change
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Formatted abstract
Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly altered global climate, and will continue to do so in the future. Increases in the frequency, duration, and/or severity of drought and heat stress associated with climate change could fundamentally alter the composition, structure, and biogeography of forests in many regions. Of particular concern are potential increases in tree mortality associated with climate-induced physiological stress and interactions with other climate-mediated processes such as insect outbreaks and wildfire. Despite this risk, existing projections of tree mortality are based on models that lack functionally realistic mortality mechanisms, and there has been no attempt to track observations of climate-driven tree mortality globally. Here we present the first global assessment of recent tree mortality attributed to drought and heat stress. Although episodic mortality occurs in the absence of climate change, studies compiled here suggest that at least some of the world's forested ecosystems already may be responding to climate change and raise concern that forests may become increasingly vulnerable to higher background tree mortality rates and die-off in response to future warming and drought, even in environments that are not normally considered water-limited. This further suggests risks to ecosystem services, including the loss of sequestered forest carbon and associated atmospheric feedbacks. Our review also identifies key information gaps and scientific uncertainties that currently hinder our ability to predict tree mortality in response to climate change and emphasizes the need for a globally coordinated observation system. Overall, our review reveals the potential for amplified tree mortality due to drought and heat in forests worldwide.
Keyword Climate change
Drought effects
Forest die-off
Forest mortality
Global patterns
Tree mortality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Received 4 March 2009, Received in revised form 13 August 2009, Accepted 1 September 2009

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1480 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 15 Jul 2010, 09:16:49 EST by Joni Taylor on behalf of School of Biological Sciences