UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A Process-Based Approach to Estimate Chinese Fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) Distribution and Productivity in Southern China under Climate Change Lu, Yuhao; Coops, Nicholas C.; Wang, Tongli; Wang, Guangyu


Understanding the distribution and productivity of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) under climate change is critical given the ecological and economic importance of the species. Recently, process-based growth models have grown in their popularity given their simplicity and data availability, and they are increasingly being used to map the distribution and productivity of tree species. In this paper, we study the extent of variation of the current range shift and the productivity of the species under a changing climate. We used the Physiological Principles in Predicting Growth (3-PG) model, which calculates the extent to which climatic variables affect photosynthesis and growth of a species. These variables were then used in a decision-tree model to develop rules to provide a basis for predicting the distribution of the species under current climatic conditions. Once the distribution model was developed the productivity of the species was then assessed. Using climate projections we then simulated the growth and distribution into the future. Results indicate a northward shift from the current range. The growth model also indicates minor increases in productivity in some of the existing distribution areas, principally in central China with limited productivity predicted in newly emerged stands. We conclude that this dual modeling approach has potential to quantify impacts of climate change on selected species and examining differences in climate projections on range and productivity estimation.

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