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Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the Northern Rockies Region [Chapter 6]

Author(s): Robert E. Keane, M. F. Mahalovich, Barry Bollenbacher, Mary Manning, Rachel A. Loehman, Theresa B. Jain, Lisa M. Holsinger, Andrew J. Larson, Andrew J. Webster
Year Published: 2018

The projected rapid changes in climate will affect the unique vegetation assemblages of the Northern Rockies region in myriad ways, both directly through shifts in vegetation growth, mortality, and regeneration, and indirectly through changes in disturbance regimes and interactions with changes in other ecosystem processes, such as hydrology, snow dynamics, and exotic invasions (Bonan 2008; Hansen and Phillips 2015; Hansen et al. 2001; Notaro et al. 2007). These impacts, taken collectively, could change the way vegetation is managed by public land agencies in this area. Some species may be in danger of rapid decreases in abundance, while others may undergo range expansion (Landhäusser et al. 2010). New vegetation communities may form, while historical vegetation complexes may simply shift to other areas of the landscape or become rare. Juxtaposed with climate change concerns are the consequences of other land management policies and past activities, such as fire exclusion, fuels treatments, and grazing. A thorough assessment of the responses of vegetation to projected climate change is needed, along with an evaluation of the vulnerability of important species, communities, and vegetation-related resources that may be influenced by the effects, both direct and indirect, of climate change. This assessment must also account for past management actions and current vegetation conditions and their interactions with future climates.

Citation: Keane, Robert E.; Mahalovich, Mary Frances; Bollenbacher, Barry L.; Manning, Mary E.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Jain, Terrie B.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Larson, Andrew J.; Webster, Meredith M. 2018. Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the Northern Rockies Region [Chapter 6]. In: Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Dante-Wood, S. Karen; Hoang, Linh; Ho, Joanne J.; Joyce, Linda A., eds. 2018. Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Northern Rocky Mountains - Part 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-374. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 128-173.
Topic(s): Fire & Climate
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 17528
Record updated: Apr 25, 2018