skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Buotte, Polly C."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Novel climate and disturbance regimes in the 21st century threaten to increase the vulnerability of some western U.S. forests to loss of biomass and function. However, the timing and magnitude of forest vulnerabilities are uncertain and will be highly variable across the complex biophysical landscape of the region. Assessing future forest trajectories and potential management impacts under novel conditions requires place-specific and mechanistic model projections. Stakeholders in the high-carbon density forests of the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains (NRM) currently seek to understand and mitigate climate risks to these diverse conifer forests, which experienced profound 20th century disturbance from the 1910 “Big Burn” and timber harvest. Present forest management plan revisions consider approaches including increases in timber harvest that are intended to shift species compositions and increase forest stress tolerance. We utilize CLM-FATES, a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) coupled to an Earth Systems Model (ESM), to model shifting NRM forest carbon stocks and cover, production, and disturbance through 2100 under unprecedented climate and management. Across all 21st century scenarios, domain forest C-stocks and canopy cover face decline after 2090 due to the interaction of intermittent drought and fire mortality with declining Net Primary Production (NPP) and post-disturbance recovery. However, mid-century increases in forest vulnerability to fire and drought impacts are not consistently projected across climate models due to increases in precipitation that buffer warming impacts. Under all climate scenarios, increased harvest regimes diminish forest carbon stocks and increase period mortality over business-as-usual, despite some late-century reductions in forest stress. Results indicate that existing forest carbon stocks and functions are moderately persistent and that increased near-term removals may be mistimed for effectively increasing resilience.

    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 12, 2024
  2. Strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions through forestry activities have been proposed, but ecosystem process-based integration of climate change, enhanced CO 2 , disturbance from fire, and management actions at regional scales are extremely limited. Here, we examine the relative merits of afforestation, reforestation, management changes, and harvest residue bioenergy use in the Pacific Northwest. This region represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 y or more. Oregon’s net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) was equivalent to 72% of total emissions in 2011–2015. By 2100, simulations show increased net carbon uptake with little change in wildfires. Reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increase NECB 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Resultant cobenefits included water availability and biodiversity, primarily from increased forest area, age, and species diversity. Converting 127,000 ha of irrigated grass crops to native forests could decrease irrigation demand by 233 billion m 3 ⋅y −1 . Utilizing harvest residues for bioenergy production instead of leaving them in forests to decompose increased emissions in the short-term (50 y), reducing mitigation effectiveness. Increasing forest carbon on public lands reduced emissions compared with storage in wood products because the residence time is more than twice that of wood products. Hence, temperate forests with high carbon densities and lower vulnerability to mortality have substantial potential for reducing forest sector emissions. Our analysis framework provides a template for assessments in other temperate regions. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Recent prolonged droughts and catastrophic wildfires in the western United States have raised concerns about the potential for forest mortality to impact forest structure, forest ecosystem services, and the economic vitality of communities in the coming decades. We used the Community Land Model (CLM) to determine forest vulnerability to mortality from drought and fire by the year 2049. We modified CLM to represent 13 major forest types in the western United States and ran simulations at a 4‐km grid resolution, driven with climate projections from two general circulation models under one emissions scenario (RCP 8.5). We developed metrics of vulnerability to short‐term extreme and prolonged drought based on annual allocation to stem growth and net primary productivity. We calculated fire vulnerability based on changes in simulated future area burned relative to historical area burned. Simulated historical drought vulnerability was medium to high in areas with observations of recent drought‐related mortality. Comparisons of observed and simulated historical area burned indicate simulated future fire vulnerability could be underestimated by 3% in the Sierra Nevada and overestimated by 3% in the Rocky Mountains. Projections show that water‐limited forests in the Rocky Mountains, Southwest, and Great Basin regions will be the most vulnerable to future drought‐related mortality, and vulnerability to future fire will be highest in the Sierra Nevada and portions of the Rocky Mountains. High carbon‐density forests in the Pacific coast and western Cascades regions are projected to be the least vulnerable to either drought or fire. Importantly, differences in climate projections lead to only 1% of the domain with conflicting low and high vulnerability to fire and no area with conflicting drought vulnerability. Our drought vulnerability metrics could be incorporated as probabilistic mortality rates in earth system models, enabling more robust estimates of the feedbacks between the land and atmosphere over the 21st century.

    more » « less