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Regional-scale dynamics in humid, broadleaf forests
Presented by Neil PEDERSON on 16 May 2013 from 08:20 to 08:40
Type: Oral Presentation
In humid, broadleaf forests, gap-dynamics are thought to be the prevailing disturbance regime. Paleoecology, however, shows regional-scale changes forest alteration with climatic change. We used 76 tree-ring collections and 5.3k tree recruitment dates to investigate the potential for regional-scale disturbance in a temperate, humid forest. Growth-release analysis indicates coherent and intense canopy disturbance from 1775-1780 across 42,800 km2. The resulting time-series is poorly described by a Gaussian distribution and indicates that the 1775-1780 event is a rare event that can alter ecosystem trajectory. Superposed-epoch analysis suggests that drought triggered elevated disturbance. Age data documents a pulse of tree recruitment during the late-1600s over much of 1.4 million km2. These results provide evidence of rare, episodic climatic events that shape broadleaf forests for centuries and reveal the potential for rapid, regional-scale forest alteration over future decades.