CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Sept. 17 (UPI) — A U.S. study suggests the composition of some U.S. forests may be quite different 200 to 400 years from today.
University of Illinois scientists say they found temperature and photosynthetic active radiation are the two most important variables in predicting what forest landscapes may look like in the future.
They said their projections show uncertainties become very high after the year 2200.
The study focused on approximately 100,000 acres of forested area west of Lake Superior — an area that’s significant because it’s a transitional area between boreal forests – such as those in Canada, Russia, Sweden and Norway – and temporal forests.
Using computer models, the researchers led by Professor George Gertner simulated 209 possible scenarios, including 27 possible climate profiles to predict how the landscape will look over time.
Gertner said the research determined the most important source of uncertainty in the forest composition prediction resulted from temperature forecasts. The second most important source is photosynthetic active radiation, the third is carbon dioxide, and the fourth is precipitation.
The study that included doctoral student Chonggang Xu and Robert Scheller, a landscape ecologist at the Conservation Biology Institute in Corvallis, Oregon, appears in the journal Global Change Biology 2009.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International