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Climate-induced tree mortality: Earth system consequences

April 1, 2010

One of the greatest uncertainties in global environmental change is predicting changes in feedbacks between the biosphere and the Earth system. Terrestrial ecosystems and, in particular, forests exert strong controls on the global carbon cycle and influence regional hydrology and climatology directly through water and surface energy budgets [Bonan, 2008; Chapin et al., 2008].

According to new research, tree mortality associated with elevated temperatures and drought has the potential to rapidly alter forest ecosystems, potentially affecting feedbacks to the Earth system [Allen et al., 2010]. Several lines of recent research demonstrate how tree mortality rates in forests may be sensitive to climate change—particularly warming and drying. This emerging consequence of global change has important effects on Earth system processes (Figure 1).

Publication Year 2010
Title Climate-induced tree mortality: Earth system consequences
DOI 10.1029/2010EO170003
Authors Henry D. Adams, Alison K. Macalady, David D. Breshears, Craig D. Allen, Nathan L. Stephenson, Scott Saleska, Travis E. Huxman, Nathan G. McDowell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70176782
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center; Western Ecological Research Center