M.S. Forest Resources
Spruce-Fir forests at southern range margins: implications of climate change
Holdsworth Room 209
Dr. Matthew Kelty
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to forest biodiversity. Forests are a major component of the New England landscape, and provide crucial habitat for many wildlife and plant species which may shift their distributions in response to climate change. Forests at their range margins are especially susceptible to climate change since they live at environmental distribution limits. The marginal extents of forests are more likely to respond to climate change since they already occur at their environmental extremes. This study examines red-spruce balsam fir (Picea rubens- Abies balsamea) communities at their southern range margin. I will use dendrochronology methods and historical climate records to identify correlations between patterns in the tree’s response to climate change. My research examines the vegetation dynamics in these boreal forests. By comparing historical data about species composition and regeneration, with data collected this year, observations of shifts in forest dynamics potentially linked to climate change will be identified. My research aims to create a model for predicting where red spruce-balsam fir forest ranges will shift to under the IPCC predictions of future climates in the United States.
Last updated August 5, 2010 by