Plant-Climate relationships in the
      western United States
       Dennis Ferguson
       Research Forester
     RMRS, ...
Acknowledgements
•   Jerry Rehfeldt
•   Marcus Warwell
•   Nick Crookston
•   Jeff Evans
•   Bryce Richardson
Tools to help model the effects of
             climate change
1. Predict climate variables
2. Use climate variables to pr...
1. Predicting climate
• Spline climate model by Jerry Rehfeldt
  (2006)
  – Based on monthly normals from 1961 – 1990
  – ...
Thin plate splines fit climate data to geographic surfaces
Degree days
  >5 °C
Climate variables derived from temperature
           and precipitation monthlies
•   Mean annual temperature        • Deg...
2. Use contemporary climate to predict
 current plant communities and species
              distributions
     • Model “cl...
Rehfeldt, Crookston,
Warwell and Evans.
2006. Empirical analysis
of plant-climate
relationships for the
western United Sta...
The problem with ecosystem models:
• Individual plants, not communities, respond
  to climate
• Species have different phy...
Let’s look at some individual plant species
 • Predictions for contemporary climate
 • Comparison to range maps of Little ...
Douglas-fir,
contemporary
   climate
(1961 - 1990)


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Western larch,
contemporary
   climate


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Western
 white pine,
contemporary
   climate

 Yellow:
 50 to 75%
 confidence
 Red:
 75 to 100%
 confidence
Bluebunch
 wheatgrass,
contemporary
   climate


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Saguaro
   cactus,
contemporary
   climate

 Yellow:
 50 to 75%
 confidence
 Red:
 75 to 100%
 confidence
3. Use climate change scenarios to
predict future species distributions
We used a 1% increase per year in greenhouse
gasse...
Douglas-fir,
contemporary
   climate


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Douglas-fir,
  2030
Douglas-fir,
  2060
Douglas-fir,
  2090
Western larch,
contemporary
   climate


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Western
 larch,
 2030
Western
 larch,
 2060
Western
 larch,
 2090
Western
 white pine,
contemporary
   climate

 Yellow:
 50 to 75%
 confidence
 Red:
 75 to 100%
 confidence
Western
white pine,
  2030
Western
white pine,
  2060
Western
white pine,
  2090
Bluebunch
 wheatgrass,
contemporary
   climate


Yellow:
50 to 75%
confidence
Red:
75 to 100%
confidence
Bluebunch
wheatgrass,
  2030
Bluebunch
wheatgrass,
  2060
Bluebunch
wheatgrass,
  2090
Saguaro
   cactus,
contemporary
   climate

 Yellow:
 50 to 75%
 confidence
 Red:
 75 to 100%
 confidence
Saguaro
 cactus
  2030
Saguaro
 cactus
  2060
Saguaro
 cactus
  2090
Four o’clock,
contemporary
   climate

Mirabilis
macfarlanei
Four o’clock,
contemporary
   climate
Four o’clock,
   2030
Four o’clock,
   2060
Four o’clock,
   2090
Utah
juniper



          2000   2090


pinyon
 pine



          2000   2090
aspen




        2000   2030




        2060   2090
Potential impact on the vegetation?
             utterly humongous


But, will species track their climate profile?
abundance vs. summer dryness index
population response functions




Pinus contorta              Pinus sylvestris
population response functions
  A species is not a species




Pinus contorta              Pinus sylvestris
Potential impact on the vegetation?
       disruption at all levels of organization
• maladaptation of populations
• shift...
Climate seed
zones for
Engelmann
spruce
2000   2030




2060   2090
Global Warming according to
    the Canadian Model
Conclusions
1. Predictions of species climate profiles
   were much better than we expected
2. We show a technique for pre...
Rehfeldt et al., 2006
       Plant-climate relationships paper
  http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/25706




Get jpeg i...
Lodgepole pine,
 contemporary
    climate
 (1961 - 1990)


  Yellow:
  50 to 75%
  confidence
  Red:
  75 to 100%
  confid...
Lodgepole pine,
    2030
Lodgepole pine,
    2060
Lodgepole pine,
    2090
Whitebark
             votes for
  pine       species
             presence
            Today’s
            climate
      ...
Whitebark
  pine
Today’s
climate
 votes for
 species
 presence
Whitebark
  pine
Today’s
climate
 votes for
 species
 presence
Whitebark
  pine
2030
climate
 votes for
 species
 presence
Let’s look at some individual species
4. Needed: a carbon accounting tool
          for FFE-FVS
      Good news: we got one!
2000




       2030 projections
B Ferguson Mt Wildlife Society Feb08 Opt
B Ferguson Mt Wildlife Society Feb08 Opt
B Ferguson Mt Wildlife Society Feb08 Opt
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Plant-Climate Relationships in The Western US by Dennis Ferguson

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B Ferguson Mt Wildlife Society Feb08 Opt

  1. 1. Plant-Climate relationships in the western United States Dennis Ferguson Research Forester RMRS, Moscow, Idaho
  2. 2. Acknowledgements • Jerry Rehfeldt • Marcus Warwell • Nick Crookston • Jeff Evans • Bryce Richardson
  3. 3. Tools to help model the effects of climate change 1. Predict climate variables 2. Use climate variables to predict plant species distributions 3. Link predicted climate to climate change scenarios
  4. 4. 1. Predicting climate • Spline climate model by Jerry Rehfeldt (2006) – Based on monthly normals from 1961 – 1990 – Used ~6,000 weather stations from western U.S. and Canada – Latitude, longitude, and elevation – 18 derived climate variables – Average R-square was 0.95 – Maps in this presentation are 1 km² resolution
  5. 5. Thin plate splines fit climate data to geographic surfaces
  6. 6. Degree days >5 °C
  7. 7. Climate variables derived from temperature and precipitation monthlies • Mean annual temperature • Degree-days > 5 °C • Mean annual precipitation • Degree-days < 0 °C • Growing season precipitation • Frost-free period • Mean cold month temperature • Last spring frost • Minimum cold month • First fall frost temperature • Mean warm month temperature • Growing season degree- days > 5 °C • Maximum warm month temperature • Summer-winter • Annual dryness index temperature differential • Summer dryness index • Date degree-days > 5 °C • Minimum degree-days <0 °C reaches 100
  8. 8. 2. Use contemporary climate to predict current plant communities and species distributions • Model “climate profile”
  9. 9. Rehfeldt, Crookston, Warwell and Evans. 2006. Empirical analysis of plant-climate relationships for the western United States. IJPS 167:1123–1150 Brown’s 26 biotic communities
  10. 10. The problem with ecosystem models: • Individual plants, not communities, respond to climate • Species have different physiologies and will respond differently
  11. 11. Let’s look at some individual plant species • Predictions for contemporary climate • Comparison to range maps of Little (1971) • Used 118,000 plots westwide
  12. 12. Douglas-fir, contemporary climate (1961 - 1990) Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  13. 13. Western larch, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  14. 14. Western white pine, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  15. 15. Bluebunch wheatgrass, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  16. 16. Saguaro cactus, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  17. 17. 3. Use climate change scenarios to predict future species distributions We used a 1% increase per year in greenhouse gasses (Hadley Center and Canadian Center), a relatively conservative scenario
  18. 18. Douglas-fir, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  19. 19. Douglas-fir, 2030
  20. 20. Douglas-fir, 2060
  21. 21. Douglas-fir, 2090
  22. 22. Western larch, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  23. 23. Western larch, 2030
  24. 24. Western larch, 2060
  25. 25. Western larch, 2090
  26. 26. Western white pine, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  27. 27. Western white pine, 2030
  28. 28. Western white pine, 2060
  29. 29. Western white pine, 2090
  30. 30. Bluebunch wheatgrass, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  31. 31. Bluebunch wheatgrass, 2030
  32. 32. Bluebunch wheatgrass, 2060
  33. 33. Bluebunch wheatgrass, 2090
  34. 34. Saguaro cactus, contemporary climate Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  35. 35. Saguaro cactus 2030
  36. 36. Saguaro cactus 2060
  37. 37. Saguaro cactus 2090
  38. 38. Four o’clock, contemporary climate Mirabilis macfarlanei
  39. 39. Four o’clock, contemporary climate
  40. 40. Four o’clock, 2030
  41. 41. Four o’clock, 2060
  42. 42. Four o’clock, 2090
  43. 43. Utah juniper 2000 2090 pinyon pine 2000 2090
  44. 44. aspen 2000 2030 2060 2090
  45. 45. Potential impact on the vegetation? utterly humongous But, will species track their climate profile?
  46. 46. abundance vs. summer dryness index
  47. 47. population response functions Pinus contorta Pinus sylvestris
  48. 48. population response functions A species is not a species Pinus contorta Pinus sylvestris
  49. 49. Potential impact on the vegetation? disruption at all levels of organization • maladaptation of populations • shifts in species distributions • realignment of ecosystems Bottom line: To have future forests like those of today, the proper genotypes of the best-suited species must arrive somewhere near the future location of their climatic optima
  50. 50. Climate seed zones for Engelmann spruce
  51. 51. 2000 2030 2060 2090
  52. 52. Global Warming according to the Canadian Model
  53. 53. Conclusions 1. Predictions of species climate profiles were much better than we expected 2. We show a technique for predicting effects of climate change 3. We do not know “the” answer 4. See if various approaches produce the same results
  54. 54. Rehfeldt et al., 2006 Plant-climate relationships paper http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/25706 Get jpeg illustrations and ASCII grids at: http://forest.moscowfsl.wsu.edu/climate
  55. 55. Lodgepole pine, contemporary climate (1961 - 1990) Yellow: 50 to 75% confidence Red: 75 to 100% confidence
  56. 56. Lodgepole pine, 2030
  57. 57. Lodgepole pine, 2060
  58. 58. Lodgepole pine, 2090
  59. 59. Whitebark votes for pine species presence Today’s climate votes for species presence
  60. 60. Whitebark pine Today’s climate votes for species presence
  61. 61. Whitebark pine Today’s climate votes for species presence
  62. 62. Whitebark pine 2030 climate votes for species presence
  63. 63. Let’s look at some individual species
  64. 64. 4. Needed: a carbon accounting tool for FFE-FVS Good news: we got one!
  65. 65. 2000 2030 projections

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