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Abstract

Ecotones have been subject to significant attention over the past 25 years as a consensus emerged that they might be uniquely sensitive to the effects of climate change. Most ecotone field studies and modeling efforts have focused on transitions between forest and non-forest biomes (e.g. boreal forest to Arctic tundra, forest to prairie, subalpine forests to alpine tundra) while little effort has been made to evaluate or simply understand forest–forest ecotones, specifically the deciduous forest – boreal forest ecotone. Geographical shifts and changes at this ecotone because of anthropogenic factors are tied to the broader survival of both the boreal and deciduous forest communities as well as global factors such as biodiversity loss and dynamics of the carbon cycle. This review summarizes what is known about the location, controlling mechanisms, disturbance regimes, anthropogenic impacts, and sensitivity to climate change of the deciduous forest – boreal forest ecotone.