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Climate and fire drivers of forest composition and openness in the Changbai Mountains since the Late Glacial

Meng, M., Harrison, S. P., Jie, D. ORCID:, Li, N., Liu, B., Li, D., Gao, G. and Niu, H. (2023) Climate and fire drivers of forest composition and openness in the Changbai Mountains since the Late Glacial. Forest Ecosystems, 10. 100127. ISSN 2197-5620

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.fecs.2023.100127


Ongoing climate changes have a direct impact on forest growth; they also affect natural fire regimes, with further implications for forest composition. Understanding of how these will affect forests on decadal-to-centennial timescales is limited. Here we use reconstructions of past vegetation, fire regimes and climate during the Holocene to examine the relative importance of changes in climate and fire regimes for the abundance of key tree species in northeastern China. We reconstructed vegetation changes and fire regimes based on pollen and charcoal records from Gushantun peatland. We then used generalized linear modelling to investigate the impact of reconstructed changes in summer temperature, annual precipitation, background levels of fire, fire frequency and fire magnitude to identify the drivers of decadal-to-centennial changes in forest openness and composition. Changes in climate and fire regimes have independent impacts on the abundance of the key tree taxa. Climate variables are generally more important than fire variables in determining the abundance of individual taxa. Precipitation is the only determinant of forest openness, but summer temperature is more important than precipitation for individual tree taxa with warmer summers causing a decrease in cold-tolerant conifers and an increase in warmth-demanding broadleaved trees. Both background level and fire frequency have negative relationships with the abundance of most tree taxa; only Pinus increases as fire frequency increases. The magnitude of individual fires does not have a significant impact on species abundance on this timescale. Both climate and fire regime characteristics must be considered to understand changes in forest composition on the decadal-to-centennial timescale. There are differences, both in sign and magnitude, in the response of individual tree species to individual drivers.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:114019


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