Climate change causing more severe wildfires, larger insect outbreaks in temperate forests

November 8, 2018, Portland State University
The southern slope of Mount Adams in Washington has burned four times in the last 14 years, which is significantly more frequent than expected at that elevation and forest types. Credit: Sebastian Busby

A warmer, drier climate is expected is increase the likelihood of larger-scale forest disturbances such as wildfires, insect outbreaks, disease and drought, according to a new study co-authored by a Portland State University professor.

The study, published Oct. 19 in the journal Nature Communications, sought to provide a more complete snapshot of disturbances in the world's by quantifying the size, shape and prevalence of disturbances and understanding their drivers.

The researchers analyzed 50 like national parks as well as their immediate surroundings, allowing them to compare disturbances inside protected areas that are more -related from those just outside that would also be impacted by human land use.

The study found that while many temperate forests are dominated by small-scale disturbance events—driven largely by windstorms and cooler, wetter —there was also a strong link between high disturbance activity and warmer and drier-than-average climate conditions. Andrés Holz, a co-author and geography professor in PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said this suggests that with a warming climate, disturbances are expected to become larger and more severe in some temperate forests including the western U.S.

"Under the warmer conditions we have been seeing, it is likely that we're going to see a higher probability of areas that tend to have very big disturbances," he said.

Among the study's findings:

Areas with low disturbance activity were largely associated with windstorms under cooler, rainy conditions, while areas with large disturbance activity were largely associated with wildfires, bark beetle outbreaks and drought under warmer, drier conditions.

In the majority of landscapes outside protected areas, disturbance patches were generally larger and less complex in shape than in protected areas. For example, man-made disturbances like logging are simpler in shape than the path a wildfire, storm or insect might take inside a protected area. But in landscapes affected by large-scale fires or outbreaks, the size and complexity of what happens inside and outside the protected areas are more comparable.

"Climate change is mimicking the footprint of disturbances in protected areas to what we are doing through land-use change outside of protected areas," Holz said. "Under warmer conditions, we might see more similarities between protected and their surroundings in some temperate forests globally."

Explore further: Research examines how insect outbreaks affect forests and bats

More information: Andreas Sommerfeld et al, Patterns and drivers of recent disturbances across the temperate forest biome, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06788-9

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16 comments

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grandpa
1.5 / 5 (17) Nov 08, 2018
Why does nobody believe in providing statistics. Why would someone attribute an occurrence at one location to a trend. Why wouldn't someone expect more wildfires when logging has been eliminated as a way to control overgrowth.
zz5555
4.8 / 5 (16) Nov 08, 2018
Why can none in the anti-science community be bothered to click on the DOI link in the article, where their questions are already answered? Is there a correlation between being too lazy to click a link and read a little bit and the anti-science community? I suspect so, but it would be interesting to see a study on it. It might explain the strong anti science movement in the US.
avandesande2000
1.3 / 5 (14) Nov 08, 2018
Look at Ansel Adams photographs of the west and compare to the same areas now. Due to fire suppression efforts we have created forests that never existed.
Old_C_Code
1.3 / 5 (14) Nov 09, 2018
the anti-science community


No, arrogant punks explain your creation.
HeloMenelo
4.7 / 5 (13) Nov 09, 2018
No dumbdumb Prove your lies, so that we can simply expose you Again ;)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2018
Why can none in the anti-science community be bothered to click on the DOI link in the article, where their questions are already answered? Is there a correlation between being too lazy to click a link and read a little bit and the anti-science community? I suspect so, but it would be interesting to see a study on it. It might explain the strong anti science movement in the US.

says zz5555

Nobody is "antiscience", else they would not bother commenting in these forums. They are looking for the best possible explanations as to WHY there is such a tremendous insistence by so many that "climate change"/"global warming" is supposedly occurring. Much of the pessimism has to do with location. If a person lives and works in a location where the weather is fine and there is very little change, if any, from year to year and season to season, then they will wonder what is the big fuss and how the fuss seems to be affecting everyone else who believes the climate is changing.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2018
-contd-
For most people, if they want to see what the climate is in other parts of the country or the world, they only need to access a national weather website to see what is going on in other locations of the country/world. Droughts and flooding are normal occurrences, depending on the location, topography and the amounts of trees that have been taken out of a forest, and other changes in land mass. Hawaii has been undergoing enormous upheavals where not only climate has changed, but topography has also been rent asunder. California is, and has been undergoing many huge forest fires where the air in San Francisco is now the quality of the air in Beijing, China. Very bad.
But wholesale accusations of "climate change" occurring, even with graphs and the like as evidence for it, could still be attributed to normal and natural changes caused by Nature and the natural order of what the Earth undergoes quite routinely. And the charges are continuous, making it unconvincing.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2018
the anti-science community


No, arrogant punks explain your creation.
says O_C_C

They are too heavily invested in, and faithful adherents to the religion of Global Change/Climate Warming. LOL
These terms are interchangeable, but mean the same thing. If the climate scientists/climatologists/weathermen/AlGore say that Earth is doomed - then it has to be doomed, and nothing that anyone says will convince them otherwise.
Some time ago, caffeine was found in the waterways at the California coastline which was a result of coffee drinkers whose urine had gone into domestic cesspools that emptied out into those waterways. I haven't heard that anything was done to alleviate the problem by the state government of California. And what have they done to mitigate the forest fires? Not much, and many people have died as a result.
Believers in CC/GW are all abuzz over the statistics and demand that YOU believe it too and change YOUR lifestyles. But will they change theirs?
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2018
Look at Ansel Adams photographs of the west and compare to the same areas now. Due to fire suppression efforts we have created forests that never existed.
says avandesande

Some of what I know of American history is that before White people arrived in the "New World", forest fires were started almost exclusively by lightning strikes, and when forests burnt down, new tree growths began in their stead and a new forest would take the place of the old one.
You are correct. The underbrush in forests are allowed to remain and grow, so that if a forest fire is started by the homeless or lightning - it travels fast from tree to tree and along the underbrush corridors. Virtually unstoppable.
Ansel Adams was a meticulous photographer and Naturalist who gave the world a taste of what once was - and is no more. His photographs are still the envy of those who came after.

I see that the gangraters have been to this forum also, giving their 'onesies' as though it really matters. LOL
Old_C_Code
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2018
No dumbdumb Prove your lies, so that we can simply expose you Again ;)


What lies? There is no emergency or alarm regarding the effects of climate change regardless of what paranoid babies think.

And CO2 is not a poison, asphyxiation is a lack of oxygen. Many places in the world where CO2 can accumulate in low lying pockets up to 2, 3 feet high and asphyxiate wildlife. But it's due to lack of oxygen.
Thorium Boy
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2018
How many trees grow in the Arctic?
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2018
@Old C
And CO2 is not a poison
Ya know, you can be poisoned with CO2 and still have enough O2 to support life present
https://en.wikipe...ercapnia

so... where are the studies supporting your claims?

I've not seen a single study presented in refute to the studies I've linked to you in the past

if you want people to believe in what you're saying, you should actually provide science instead of your beliefs or claims
Old_C_Code
not rated yet Nov 10, 2018
Studies? lol, CO2 is junior high school basics. Studies claiming we are doomed unless we stop using fossil fuels and become poor miserable humans? You are completely fooled by the political agenda. An agenda, that makes the poor and all people pay more for energy. We had a cool wet summer, and a snowy winter on it's way. This is not evidence of a climate emergency. Oil companies love the green agenda, they know 80% of energy will still be fossil fuels when all is said and done. I don't want pollution, no one does. But pretending we have a climate emergency is insane.

How many trees grow in the Arctic?


LOL
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2018
Old C
CO2 is junior high school basics
then you shouldn't have any problems finding validated studies refuting the validated studies I've linked to you in the past, or the experiments like FACE
Studies claiming we are doomed unless ...
links/references?
People claim that. articles claim that. opinion claims that. Studies give the probability of an action based upon the information presented in the studies within certain parameters
You are completely fooled by the political agenda
no, I am not
I don't give a sh*t about the politics
In point of fact, I also don't agree with all the political decisions

and the topic of CO2 being "plant food" isn't a political argument, it's a scientific one, and you've been proven wrong repeatedly on the topic with *evidence*, not politics
sigh: https://oceanserv...ate.html

2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2018
old c cont'd
We had a cool wet summer, and a snowy winter on it's way. This is not evidence of a climate emergency
no, it's called weather
and the destabilised jet stream causing these weather issues most definitely is evidence of a climate emergency as noted (and predicted) by Francis and Vavrus

BTW, like the Lacis et al paper, Francis and Vavrus has also been validated
I don't want pollution, no one does. But pretending we have a climate emergency is insane
1- ignoring the overwhelming evidence being repeatedly validated is insane. Our planet can't even agree on the tastiness of Bacon, so when they present findings globally, it tends to make a point

2- you still haven't addressed any of the validated studies refuting your argument about CO2

so far, the best you've offered is your argument "CO2 is junior high school basics" (without evidence)

.

still waiting for the refute of the studies...
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2018
@Old_C_Code.

The previously settled/predictable (pre industrial-revolution) weather/climate PATTERNS are demonstrably being destabilized already. Just ask the ORDINARY people (farming, transportation, health etc) around the globe whose livelihood/safety/sustainability etc depends on knowing/predicting what's going on with weather/climate NOW...which is obviously becoming more unpredictable, unseasonal, extreme, so causing back-to-back disasters for agriculture, transportation, health, economies, societies.
Oil companies...
Since you brought them up. Did you know that:

- the Oil companies' own scientists were largely the ones who recognized increased atmospheric CO2 levels would strengthen the Earth system's Greenhouse Effect?...and that

- this 'nexus' was beginning to be realized by earlier scientists... LONG BEFORE GOP/Fossil Lobbies/Russian Troll-Factories MADE IT INTO A CYNICAL and UNCONSCIONABLE POLITICAL FOOTBALL for mercenary/political gain?

Wake up, mate! :)

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