Modelling responses of pine savannas to climate change and large-scale disturbance
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
2006 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Applied Vegetation Science
Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 75–82, May 2006
How to Cite
Beckage, B., Gross, L. J. and Platt, W. J. (2006), Modelling responses of pine savannas to climate change and large-scale disturbance. Applied Vegetation Science, 9: 75–82. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2006.tb00657.x
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 28 July 2004; Accepted 9 June 2005.
- Global warming;
- Longleaf pine;
- Lotka-Volterra model;
- Pinus palustris
Global warming can potentially influence ecological communities through altered disturbance regimes in addition to increased temperatures. We investigate the response of pine savannas in the southeastern United States to global warming using a simple Lotka-Volterra competition model together with predicted changes to fire and hurricane disturbance regimes with global climate change. In the southeastern United States, decreased frequency of both fires and hurricanes with global warming will shift pine savannas toward a forested state. A CO2 fertilization effect that increases the growth rate of tree populations will also push southeastern landscapes from open savannas towards closed forests. Transient dynamics associated with climate driven changes in vegetation will last on the order of decades to a century. In our model, the sensitivity of savannas to relative changes in the frequency of fire versus hurricanes is linearly dependent on the growth rate and mortality of trees in fire and hurricane disturbances.