Present-day and future contribution of climate and fires to vegetation composition in the boreal forest of China
Ecological Society of America:
© 2017 Wu et al. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Climate is well known as an important determinant of biogeography. Although climate is directly important for vegetation composition in the boreal forests, these ecosystems are strongly sensitive to an indirect effect of climate via fire disturbance. However, the driving balance of fire disturbance and climate on composition is poorly understood. In this study, we quantitatively analyzed their individual contributions for the boreal forests of the Heilongjiang Province, China, and their response to climate change using four warming scenarios (+1.5°, 2°, 3°, and 4°C). This study employs the statistical methods of Redundancy Analysis (RDA) and variation partitioning combined with simulation results from a SErgey VERsion Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (SEVER-DGVM), and remote sensing datasets of global land cover (GLC2000) and the third version of Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED3). Results show that the vegetation distribution for the present day is mainly determined directly by climate (35%) rather than fire (1-10.9%). However, with a future global warming of 1.5°C, local vegetation composition will be determined by fires rather than climate (36.3% > 29.3%). Above 1.5°C warming, temperature will be more important than fires in regulating vegetation distribution although other factors such as precipitation can also contribute. The spatial pattern in vegetation composition over the region, as evaluated by Moran's Eigenvector Map (MEM), has a significant impact on local vegetation coverage; for example, composition at any individual location is highly related to that in its neighborhood. It represents the largest contribution to vegetation distribution in all scenarios, but will not change the driving balance between climate and fires. Our results are highly relevant for forest and wildfires' management.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570475) and China Scholarship Council.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Ecological Society of America via the DOI in this record
Vol. 8 (8), article e01917