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No treeline shift despite climate change over the last 70 years

Title data

Beloiu, Mirela ; Poursanidis, Dimitris ; Tsakirakis, Antonis ; Chrysoulakis, Nektarios ; Hoffmann, Samuel ; Lymberakis, Petros ; Barnias, Antonis ; Kienle, David ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl:
No treeline shift despite climate change over the last 70 years.
In: Forest Ecosystems. Vol. 9 (2022) . - No. 100002.
ISSN 2197-5620
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fecs.2022.100002

Abstract in another language

Background
The recent rise in temperature and shifting precipitation regimes threaten ecosystems around the globe to different degrees. Treelines are expected to respond to climate warming by shifting to higher elevations, but it is unclear whether they can track temperature changes. Here, we integrated high-resolution aerial imagery with local climatic and topographic characteristics to study the treeline dynamic from 1945 to 2015 on the semi-arid Mediterranean island of Crete, Greece.
Results
During the study period, the mean annual temperature at the treeline increased by 0.81 ​°C, while the average precipitation decreased by 170 ​mm. The treeline is characterized by a diffuse form, with trees growing on steep limestone slopes (>50°) and shallow soils. Moreover, the treeline elevation decreases with increasing distance from the coast and with aspect (south ​> ​north). Yet, we found no shift in the treeline over the past 70 years, despite an increase in temperature in all four study sites. However, the treeline elevation correlated strongly with topographic exposure to wind (R2 ​= ​0.74, p ​< ​0.001). Therefore, the temporal lag in treeline response to warming could be explained by a combination of topographic and microclimatic factors, such as the absence of a shelter effect and a decrease in moisture.
Conclusion
Although there was no treeline shift over the last 70 years, climate change has already started shifting the treeline altitudinal optimum. Consequently, the lack of climate-mediated migration at the treeline should raise concerns about the threats posed by warming, such as drought damages, and wildfire, especially in the Mediterranean region. Therefore, conservation management should discuss options and needs to support adaptive management.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Aerial imagery;Protected area; Continental island; Mediterranean region; High mountains; Temperature; Precipitation; Climate change; Forest dynamics
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Graduate Schools
Graduate Schools > Elite Network Bavaria
Graduate Schools > Elite Network Bavaria > Global Change Ecology
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2022 08:40
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 08:40
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/68805