Scaling Aspen-FACE experimental results to century and landscape scales
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The Aspen-FACE experiment generated 11 years of empirical data on the effect of CO2 enrichment and elevated ozone on the growth of field-grown trees (maple, birch and six aspen clones) in northern Wisconsin, but it is not known how these short-term plot-level responses might play out at the landscape scale over multiple decades where competition, succession and disturbances interact with tree-level responses. In this study we used a forest landscape model (LANDIS-II) to scale these site level results to broader temporal and spatial scales. These general principles emerged from the results. (1) The productivity of taxa under future conditions is the primary determinant of short-term taxon dominance. (2) Longer-term, longevity and shade tolerance may supersede productivity as the determinant of importance, depending on the disturbance regime. This result offers hope that, even in the face of atmospheric changes, managers may have some control over future forest composition and carbon sequestration through modification of disturbance regimes. (3) Changes in the abundance of taxa were mostly gradual and none of the taxa were extirpated from the landscape, even under treatments for which they were poorly adapted. This suggests that as atmospheric conditions change, abrupt extirpations are expected to be rare. (4) Similarly, different taxa fared relatively well under different treatments. This suggests that maintaining species and genetic diversity is a prudent forest management strategy in the face of global change. (5) Accounting for spatial processes is important because seed dispersal and establishment may limit the ability of some species to colonize available habitat.
KeywordsAspen-FACE Scaling Global change Ozone pollution Forest composition Carbon dynamics Forest landscape modeling LANDIS-II
We thank Sue Lietz for technical assistance processing LANDIS inputs and outputs. We thank Jonathan Thompson, Jeffrey Herrick and several anonymous reviewers for critique of the manuscript. Funding provided by the Northern Research Station. The Aspen-FACE experiment was principally supported by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy Grant No. DE-FG02-95ER62125 to Michigan Technological University; Contract No. DE-AC02-98CH10886 to Brookhaven National Laboratory; Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy Interagency Agreement No. DE-AI02-09ER64717 to the US Forest Service, Northern Research Station; the US Forest Service Northern Global Change Program; and the Canadian Forest Service.
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