Boreal forests challenged by global change

Boreal forest
Taiga Landscape in Quebec, Canada, dominated by Black Spruce Picea mariana. Credit: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Management of boreal forests needs greater attention from international policy, argued forestry experts from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Natural Resources Canada, and the University of Helsinki in Finland in a new article published this week in the journal Science. The article, which reviews recent research in the field, is part of a special issue on forests released in advance of the World Forestry Congress in September.

"Boreal forests have the potential to hit a tipping point this century," says IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program researcher Anatoly Shvidenko. "It is urgent that we place more focus on climate mitigation and adaptation with respect to these forests, and also take a more integrated and balanced view of forests around the world."

Boreal forests, which sprawl across the northernmost regions of Canada, Russia, Alaska, and Scandinavia, make up about 30% of total area on the planet. They play a vital role in the Earth's climate system by sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are home to a plethora of plants and animals. And they provide resources including substantial amounts of wood for lumber and biofuel production, as well as economic and resource opportunities for local and indigenous people.

At the same time, boreal forests are one of the ecosystems most affected by , with temperatures in the arctic and boreal domains recently warming at rates as high as 0.5°C per decade, and potential future warming of 6 to 11°C over vast northern regions by 2100, according to the IPCC's most pessimistic scenario, RCP 8.5.

Studies have shown that climate zones in boreal forests are moving northwards ten times faster than the trees' ability to migrate. Warmer and drier conditions and enhanced variability of climate may have already contributed to increased extent of wildfires, and the spread of outbreaks of dangerous insects. Thawing permafrost poses threats to the hydrological system at the continental scale, as well as the potential of releasing huge amounts of CO2 and methane. Locally, increasing non-forestry industrial development, accompanied by air pollution, soil and water contamination, might reinforce the negative impacts of climate change. Overall, these factors mean that huge areas of will be at high risk of impoverishment or change to grassland or shrubland.

"These forests evolved under cold conditions, and we do not know enough about the impacts of warming on their resilience and buffering capacity," says Shvidenko.

In the article, the researchers call for governments and societies to place greater focus on the health of boreal forests, meaning the forests' resilience, adaptive capacity, and productivity. Transition to adaptive forest management is an urgent need for securing future sustainable development of boreal forests. They also stress the key role of monitoring and research to continuously assess the state of boreal forests and improve the understanding of feedbacks and interactions in order to decrease the risk of catastrophic tipping points, where the forests switch from being a net sink for CO2 to a major source of increased greenhouse gas emissions.


Explore further

World's forests' role in carbon storage immense, profound

More information: Gauthier S, Bernier P, Kuuluvainen T, Shvidenko AZ, Schepaschenko DG (2015). Boreal forest health and global change. Science. 21 August 2015. www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/ … 1126/science.aaa9092
Journal information: Science

Citation: Boreal forests challenged by global change (2015, August 20) retrieved 16 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-boreal-forests-global.html
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Aug 20, 2015
I wonder how the Boreal forests survived the last 600 years of temperature fluctuation?

https://climateau...fi42.jpg

More disaster porn.

Aug 20, 2015
I wonder how the Boreal forests survived the last 600 years of temperature fluctuation?
your google broke?
or is your idealist anti-AGW denial sites interfering in your ability to use google effectively because you seek only to support what you want to hear, not actual science which proves you wrong?
"These forests evolved under cold conditions, and we do not know enough about the impacts of warming on their resilience and buffering capacity," says Shvidenko
from the abstract
Although most of the boreal forests have retained the resilience to cope with current disturbances, projected environmental changes of unprecedented speed and amplitude pose a substantial threat to their health
the study is actually interesting, you should actually try reading it
and you sure do like random out of context graphics which are not explained
where is the study for that?

Aug 20, 2015
i guess we should start with the definitions in the study
Boreal forests are defined as forests growing in high-latitude environments where freezing temperatures occur for 6 to 8 months (2) and in which trees are capable of reaching a minimum height of 5 m and a canopy cover of 10% (10). Boreal forest ecosystems have evolved under the constraints imposed by a short growing season and severe winters during which snow cover may last for several months (2, 11). About one-third of their extent is underlain by permafrost (Fig. 1A) (12, 13).
by definition, warming would greatly affect these areas...do they know the history?
Despite these regional differences, the combination of large- and small-scale disturbances over millennia has shaped the biodiversity of all boreal forests...
better than you do, d!
perhaps you should read first before commenting with ignorance?

Aug 20, 2015
The other headline could be, "temperate and tropical forests enhanced by climate change" but that just doesn't fit the "fear sells" narrative. This is where supposed science goes completely off the rails... why would we expend countless resources to save forests that aren't fit to survive in a warmer world? How does that make one iota of sense? This is why everyone who isn't an alarmist wants to take a more cautionary, rational approach to change. If the reigns were in the hands of the alarmists, we'd be hauling AC's and blocks of ice to the taiga right now. "Observe" all you want.. nature is going to do exactly what it needs to without our help.

Aug 20, 2015
your google broke?

Nonsense post. Let's check the other one.

unprecedented speed and amplitude

I'm glad you read at the paper! Please demonstrate that speed and amplitude.

definition, warming would greatly affect these areas

Speculation is not convincing. I thought you would learn that at MIT.

Well, my question still stands. From this graph, it is pretty clear that the Boreal forests experience rises and falls in temperature. How did they do it in the past?
https://climateau...fi42.jpg

Jeff, the problem is, the reins are in the hands of the alarmists. Google California SB 350. We are living in the end-days all right, and it *is* man-made!


Aug 20, 2015
You know what this reminds me of?

the Great Artic Methane Emergency of 2012. Now, that was a something to worry about!

http://ameg.me/


Aug 20, 2015
Jeff, the problem is, the reins are in the hands of the alarmists. Google California SB 350. We are living in the end-days all right, and it *is* man-made!


Wow, double efficiency of existing buildings? That's not going to cost much. This is what voters there wanted though. I'm perfectly comfortable letting them be the petri-dish.

Aug 20, 2015
Ask the southern coast of England what happened at the onset of the Younger Dryas.

Deciduous forests to tundra in less than 50 years. Now that is Climate Change®

Aug 21, 2015
Jeff, the problem is, the reins are in the hands of the alarmists. Google California SB 350. We are living in the end-days all right, and it *is* man-made!


Wow, double efficiency of existing buildings? That's not going to cost much. This is what voters there wanted though. I'm perfectly comfortable letting them be the petri-dish.

I'm not, I live in California (and I didn't vote for those people)!

California is a good example of the disaster that befalls a state when AGW dissaster-porn bureaucrats run legislation. We are toast, and its going to be very hard to unravel the damage caused.

Aug 21, 2015
Jeff, the problem is, the reins are in the hands of the alarmists. Google California SB 350. We are living in the end-days all right, and it *is* man-made!


Wow, double efficiency of existing buildings? That's not going to cost much. This is what voters there wanted though. I'm perfectly comfortable letting them be the petri-dish.

I'm not, I live in California (and I didn't vote for those people)!

California is a good example of the disaster that befalls a state when AGW dissaster-porn bureaucrats run legislation. We are toast, and its going to be very hard to unravel the damage caused.


Time will tell. That legislation is basically leaving the State's future to a coin toss. You guys will either be bankrupt or a hub for practical and affordable green tech.

Aug 22, 2015
Why would conservatives assume professional scientists have the same ethics of politicians Bush and Cheney?

Aug 22, 2015
"California is a good example of the disaster that befalls a state when AGW dissaster-porn bureaucrats run legislation. We are toast, and its going to be very hard to unravel the damage caused."
-------------------------------------

When did you move here?

When are you going back?

Aug 22, 2015
"California is a good example of the disaster that befalls a state when AGW dissaster-porn bureaucrats run legislation. We are toast, and its going to be very hard to unravel the damage caused."
-------------------------------------

When did you move here?

When are you going back?

Why are you trying to discover my age? How many children do you expose to "bi-sexuality" through "innocent links to gay websites"

You are sick. Sick.

Aug 23, 2015
Re: denglish, cherry picks with nil idea of Robust Statistics
https://en.wikipe...atistics

Acts like ubavontuba, similarities abound. Key issue they both fail, other than statistics/means/medians etc are failures to understand key settled physics
https://en.wikipe...transfer

further detailed re greenhouse gases here
https://en.wikipe..._forcing

Is well proven, never refuted. So question arises Where is the heat going, answer is obvious to anyone who has done high-school physics - the material with the higher specific heat/mass. That is, Oceans !

denglish's reporting is an outright lie, his naive attempt to pursue propaganda here, Eg my last post
http://phys.org/n...ght.html

denglish FAILs to address the warning by RSS
http://www.remss....eratures

ie Last sentence of 1st para

Aug 25, 2015
whenever I want to get a good dose of dumb fuck, I can count on denglish.

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