Northwestern Forest Succession Underway Under Our Changing Climate


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 07 February 2019

PLANTS, FOREST, & TREES

 Northwest Pacific Forest Composition to Radically Change

 The Coastal Range in Central Oregon
Forest from the top of Marys Peak, the highest point on Oregon’s Coast Range, Credit to OSU & Lessa Clayton
View of conifer forest from the top of Marys Peak, the highest point on Oregon’s Coast Range, Credit to OSU & Lessa Clayton for the photo.

 

This Tears the Hundred Year Plan to Shreds...

Climate modeling shows significant shifts in 21st century Pacific Northwest coastal forests,
Oregon State University, February 6, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...changing climate in the 21st century will significantly alter the coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest.”

“Vegetation is projected to change from predominantly conifer to predominantly mixed conifer and hardwood forests.”

Happening Around the World
“...the current forests can be expected to eventually be replaced by trees better adapted to future conditions.”

Interlocked Effects
“Projected impacts on forests could affect fresh water supplies, wildlife habitat quality, and recreation. It is reasonable to anticipate that climate-driven stress will make these forests more susceptible to disease and pests.”

"The bottom line is that forests on the western side of Oregon and Washington will be under a lot of stress in the future."

3 Climate Vegetation Modeling Scenarios
“...analyzed model results for vegetation cover and carbon dynamics from 1895-2100 under different assumptions: the model was run with simulated wildfires or without fires; with randomly determined fire ignitions or unlimited fire ignitions; with a moderate carbon fertilization effect (increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide will increase production and decrease transpiration) or none at all.”

All Bad
“For all scenarios, the dominant vegetation type shifts from pure conifer to mixed forest, indicating that vegetation cover change is driven solely by climate and that likely mortality and vegetation shifts are expected to occur through the 21st century regardless of the change in fire regime.”

End of the Hundred Year Plan?
"The fact that the vegetation changes so much over a short period of time points to the possibility that we won't be able to get a cycle of mature vegetation throughout the region over the next 100 years."

 

Pacific Northwest Forest 100 Year Plan in Trouble

 

Bottom Line

Recognizing Our Ongoing Forest Succession

This ongoing forest succession has been obvious to disinterested observers for quite some time, but it’s nice to see scientific backup. Better late than never?

Well, “too late,” means the end of our ancient, traditional forests. We are already too late to restrain our greed to preserve the composition and character of our forests, and all the things that depend on them and their weather.

Now, “Sighence,” is just tracking the rate of climate and interrelated weather changes, and their impressive wake of destruction (while crying about it). When the changes we have cast into Nature get done tearing Itself up, it will be turned finally to fully face us humans...

Glad I'm Old...

 

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2019, research, Pacific Northwest, coastal, forests, changing, succession, charted, composition

 

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