UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Simulating the impact of climate change on the growth of Chinese fir plantations in Fujian province, China Kang, Haijun; Seely, Brad; Wang, Guangyu; Cai, Yangxin; Innes, John L.; Zheng, Dexiang; Chen, Pingliu; Wang, Tongli


Background: Climate change represents a considerable source of uncertainty with respect to the long-term health and productivity of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook.) plantations in southeastern China. Methods: We employed the process-based, stand-level model FORECAST Climate to investigate the potential impact of four alternative climate-change scenarios on the long-term growth and development of Chinese fir plantations in Fujian province, China. The capability of the model to project seasonal patterns of productivity related to variation in temperature and moisture availability was evaluated using 11 years of 8-day composite MODIS remote sensing data. Results: Simulation results suggest climate change will lead to a modest increase in long-term stemwood biomass production (6.1 to 12.1% after 30 to 60 years). The positive impact of climate change was largely attributable to both a lengthening of the growing season and an increase in nutrient-cycling rates. The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations associated with the different emission scenarios led to an increase in water-use efficiency and a small increase in productivity. While the model predicted an overall increase in dry-season moisture stress, it did not predict increased levels of drought-related mortality. Conclusions: Climate change is expected have positive impact on the growth of Chinese fir in the Fujian region of China. However, the projected increase in plantation productivity associated with climate change may not be realised if the latter also results in enhanced activity of biotic and abiotic disturbance agents.

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