Assessing current and potential patterns of 16 forest species driven by climate change scenarios in México

J. D. GÓMEZ DÍAZ, A. I. MONTERROSO RIVAS, J. A. TINOCO RUEDA, M. L. TOLEDO MEDRANO, C. CONDE ÁLVAREZ, C. GAY GARCÍA

Abstract

In order to analyze the impacts of climate change on species endowed with forestry relevance, the present study practiced simulations in the potential distribution of 16 forest species inside the Mexican Republic’s temperate, tropical, and semiarid zones. For the examination of this effect we pictured the base scenario, as well as three models of climate change (GFDL-CM-2.0, MPI-ECHAM-5, HADGEM-1) that would take place under the socio-economic scenarios A2 and B2 by 2050. The methodology consists in: 1) a modeling of climatology corresponding to the period 1950-2000 (base scenario); 2) a consideration of the reasons for the change in precipitation and temperature within each one of the three climate change models; 3) a calculation of the soil humidity balance; 4) the creation of matrices of the forest species’ environmental requirements, and 5) a proposal for a potential spatial distribution of the species. The results show that, because of a rise in temperature and a decrease in precipitation along the entire national territory almost every month, each one of the forest species living in the temperate zones will be affected within the span of time considered. Among the species of the tropical zones, there appears a substantial decrease in the levels of those with the highest suitability, which is linked to the restrictions that are set on their development as the dry period is heightened. As for the species of the arid and semi-arid regions, the models indicate that an increase will be marked on the area of those with no suitability, which is associated with the enhancement of hydric deficit. Of the climate change models here considered, the HADGEM-1 establishes the most restrictive conditions, the MPI-ECHAM-5 establishes an intermediate situation of affectation, and the model GFDL-CM-2.0 establishes the least affectation. Geographically, the country does not present constant changes in the potential distribution of the species; these latter vary according to the climate change model that has been used, the species that has been analyzed, and the ecological zone that has been delimited.

Keywords

forestry sector; general circulation models; climate change scenarios; forest land suitability; México.

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