University of Colorado at Boulder

Colloquia Event

Friday September 06, 2013. 03:30 pm. GUGG 205

Climate change, disturbance interactions and adaptive forest management in Central Europe and Colorado

Christian Temperli

University of Colorado, Department of Geography

Abstract: Climate change will impact forest development and ecosystem services (ES) provision by shifting tree species interactions and climate-sensitive disturbance regimes. While quantitative information on the effects of climate variation on forest development and individual disturbances exists, the interactions of these effects and their long-term consequences for forest development and management require further research. I will first present some of my PhD work that addressed these challenges with respect to Central European Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests using a simulation approach. I dynamically integrated a spatially explicit and climate-sensitive bark beetle model in an existing forest landscape model (LandClim) by incorporating empirical assessments of the phenology of the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) and the susceptibility of Norway spruce forests. Applying this model along a climatic gradient I was able to show that with climate change disturbance interactions may shift in non-linear ways due to shifts in the importance of individual driving forces. For example drought may become more important in triggering beetle outbreaks than blowdown in high-elevation forests. Further, I examined how various adaptive management strategies under climate change affect the trade-offs between multiple ES. This demonstrated that adaptive management that promotes a diverse and drought-resilient species composition is key for maintaining ES provision and that selecting adaptive management options implies trading-off forest resource use and environmental objectives but also exploiting the synergies between them. In a second part I will focus on my planned and initiated research as a postdoc with the Biogeography lab. This includes (1) synthesizing past and ongoing empirical research on climate-forest-disturbance interactions in the Western US to adapt LandClim to Colorado’s subalpine forests, (2) to assess the long-term effects of beetle-fire interactions on forest development under varying climate change and management scenarios and (3) to evaluate their consequences for forest disturbance resilience and other ES. This aims at informing forest management to protect settlements and infrastructure not only in mountain forest of Colorado, but also in Central Europe and beyond.

Geography colloquium series was made possible by the generous support from The Beirne Carter Foundation.