The Urgent Need for Enhancing Forest Ecosystem Resilience Under the Anticipated Climate Portfolio Over Kerala Under RCP 4.5 and Its Possible Implications on Forests

  • Praveen DhanyaEmail author
  • Andimuthu Ramachandran
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Regional changes in climate have been observed in many parts of the world posing significant risk to all kinds of ecosystem and livelihood especially in climate sensitive sectors. This study was carried out to understand the plausible future changes that may occur to the biologically rich forested areas of kerala, using a regional climate model (RCMs)-RegCM4 by downscaling HadGEM-ES global climate model outputs at 25 km resolution. The downscaled data obtained from the RCMs were used to project the day time and night time temperature of Kerala under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5. The weather variables viz., maximum temperature, minimum temperature were extracted and projected for three time slices namely 2010–2040, 2040–2070 and 2070–2100 based on the reference period 1971–2000. The maximum and minimum temperature is projected to rise 2.79 and 2.59 °C at the end of 21st century in the forested areas of Kerala. The rise in day time warming was seen to be between 1.6 and 2 °C during midcentury and ranges 2.1 and 2.6 °C in the end of 21st century. The likely rise in night time warming was seen to be between 1.5 and 1.9 °C during mid century and 2.1 °C and 2.5 °C in the end of 21st century. Periyar Tiger Reserves, Silent Valley, Wayanad areas are projected to experience the severe warming in future in the range of 2.7 °C. The projected night time warming was in the range of 0.8 °C in the western coastal districts and 1.04 °C in the hilly areas during the near century (2010–2040) period. Comparatively higher levels of warming was observed in the Wayanad Palakkad and Malappuram districts. The possible impacts may threaten the forest biodiversity. As the simulation results indicates significant warming under even under mid emission trajectory RCP 4.5, further enhanced research is required to understand how different predominant endemic species behave under the drastic or slow alterations in the climate and growing conditions in future. This study also attempted to evaluate the existing adaptive conservation plans in the forest sector in the state and the need for strengthening its resilience.


Climate change Climate variability Forest Forest ecosystem projections RegCM CMIP5 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation Research, College of Engineering, Guindy CampusAnna UniversityChennaiIndia

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