Selecting tree species to restore forest under climate change conditions: Complementing species distribution models with field experimentation
Climate-based species distribution models are used as a strategy to decide on optimal tree species for forest restoration projects. The criteria in these models is based on species performance in local climates. The limitation of species distribution models is that they do not include recruitment. Including the species successful reproduction, recruitment and growth at an early stage is vital for successful reforestation efforts. In addition, the models are not calibrated to take into account future climatic conditions, making it difficult to plan long-term restoration projects.
Goals and Methods
The authors aim to determine whether species distribution models can be used for climate-adaptive forest restoration. They determine this by using the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to download georeferences of two focal species and pairing the current model with various climate change scenarios to re-calibrate the model.
Conclusions and Takeaways
The authors determine that recruitement rates of one of the two species were reduced in the climate change model, while the rates of the second species remain unchanged. The results indicate that species distribution models are indeed useful for designing climate-adaptive forest restoration projects, however field experiments to analyze recruitment success should be done to ensure recruitment is included in the model.
Selecting tree species to restore forest under climate change conditions: Complementing species distribution models with field experimentation. Journal of Environmental Management. 2023;329:117038. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.117038.