Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change also shifts the tallest trees on earth

16.10.2015

Climate change will shift the distribution area of coast redwoods in California about 70 to 200 kilometers to the north. The famous tallest trees in the world could entirely disappear south of San Francisco in a decade, but on the other hand increasing to the north. This is the result of a study by the University of California and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. They analyzed historic climate data in order to make more accurate ecological predictions possible from global climate models.

This approach is particularly suitable for regions where the local climate is strongly influenced by the ocean and therefore falls within the global climate models through the cracks, write the researchers in the journal Global Change Biology.


Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) can be up to 115 meters high, and reach up to seven meters in diameter. These evergreen conifers are the highest trees on earth.

Photo: Save the Redwoods League

Global climate models often show the projected changes only very roughly and overlooking local effects. However, these are very important for predicting how individual animal or plant species will cope with climate change.

The international team was looking hence for an alternative approach, and took historical climate data as indicators of short and medium term changes in climate. For this purpose, they evaluated the mean annual temperature and annual precipitation of 195 stations in California 1895-2010. Then they compared the scenarios from the historical records with the projections of global climate models and put it into a distribution model for the endangered coastal redwoods.

Depending on the scenario, the range of the distinctive tree with the red wood will change significantly. Would it drier and warmer in California, the redwood forests could shrink by now around 19,000 square kilometers to less than 5,000. Would it wetter and colder, then these forests on the other hand could extend even to almost 25,000 square kilometers. "However, most likely will be in 2025 a scenario in which it will be warmer in California, but the precipitation will not change dramatically.

Then the distribution area of the coastal redwoods will move an average of about 70 kilometers to the north," says Dr. Miguel Fernández from iDiv. In the south, the species would thus lose about 50 percent of its territory and would south of San Francisco Bay completely disappear.

On the other hand in the north they could win about 34 percent of area that would be suitable on the climatic conditions in the state of Oregon. A large resettlement program would probably be needed to ensure that coastal redwoods could also take advantage of the new habitat in the north of the US west coast to form larger forests there. Because often the natural spread of animal or plant species cannot keep up with the pace of climate change.

But there is also a good news in spite of uncertainty: Even in the most extreme climate scenarios there will be still a stable refuge in the near future - the forests of the Redwood National Park near Eureka. “Coast redwoods have endured millennia of climate change in the past and so have remarkable resilience to tolerate fluctuations in the weather," Miguel Fernández looks back.

"Our study shows that historical climate variability offers an untapped resource to develop robust climate scenario with high resolution and dynamic responses to the global climate change. Thus, they are a viable alternative to the projections of global climate models -especially for short-term forecasts.“

Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) can be up to 115 meters high, and reach up to seven meters in diameter. These evergreen conifers are the highest trees on earth. They grow only in a narrow strip on the Pacific coast of the United States because they are typical inhabitants of the rainforests in temperate latitudes and thus rely on a mild and humid climate.

Because of its imposing appearance, the species has a high symbolic value and became the State Tree of the U.S. states of California. The wood of the coast redwood is one of the most valuable timbers worldwide because of its high quality and longevity. Due to the strong commercial use these forests are significantly shrunk in California since the mid of 19th century. Today, about ten percent of the original area are under protection. Tilo Arnhold

Original publication:
Fernández, M., Hamilton, H. H. and Kueppers, L. M. (2015), Back to the future: using historical climate variation to project near-term shifts in habitat suitable for coast redwood. Glob Change Biol. doi:10.1111/gcb.13027
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13027
The study was founded by the Save the Redwoods League.

Additional information:
Dr. Miguel Alejandro Fernández,
University of California and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Telephone: +49 341 9733188
https://www.idiv.de/en/the-centre/employees/details/eshow/fernandez-miguel-aleja...
or
Tilo Arnhold, iDiv Press Office
Telephone: +49 341 9733197
https://www.idiv.de/press/people.html
or
Nancy Crowley, Save The Redwoods League
Phone: +1 (415) 606-6593
http://www.savetheredwoods.org/research/future-coastal-climate-not-cool-for-redw...

Links:
Redwoods (National Geographic, October 2009):
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/redwoods/redwoods
A short film about the Coastal Redwoods of California:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCk6r_9ktr4
Save the Redwoods League
http://www.savetheredwoods.org/
NatureServe Network
http://www.natureserve.org/

About Save the Redwoods League
Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has led the effort to protect coast redwoods and giant sequoias for all to experience and enjoy. To date, the League has protected more than 200,000 acres of redwood forest and associated land from southern Oregon to the Big Sur coastline of central California. As part of that effort, the organization has created and expanded 66 redwood parks and preserves that inspire visitors from around the world. http://www.SaveTheRedwoods.org

About German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
iDiv is a central facility of the University of Leipzig within the meaning of Section 92 (1) of the Act on Academic Freedom in Higher Education in Saxony (Sächsisches Hoch-schulfreiheitsgesetz, SächsHSFG). It is run together with the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, as well as in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ.
The following non-university research institutions are involved as cooperation partners: the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI BGC), the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPI CE), the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI EVA), the Leibniz Institute DSMZ–German Collection of Micro¬organisms and Cell Cultures, the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB), the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) and the Leibniz Institute Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz (SMNG). http://www.idiv.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://live.idiv.de/press/press-releases/press_release_single_view/article//cli...

Tilo Arnhold | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New research unlocks forests' potential in climate change mitigation
21.04.2017 | Clemson University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>