Consistent Predictions of Future Forest Mortality

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:17 AM
Nathan G McDowell, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States
We examined empirical and model based estimates of current and future forest mortality of conifers in the northern hemisphere. Consistent water potential thresholds were found that resulted in mortality of our case study species, pinon pine and one-seed juniper. Extending these results with IPCC climate scenarios suggests that most existing trees in this region (SW USA) will be dead by 2050. Further, independent estimates of future mortality for the entire coniferous biome suggest widespread mortality by 2100. The validity and assumptions and implications of these results are discussed.