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Adaptive management to climate change for Norway spruce forests along a regional gradient in Finland

Abstract

We hypothesized that the responses of boreal Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests to climate change would be region-specific due to regional differences in temperature and water availability. In this context, we analyzed the adaptive effects of varied thinning intensities on the gross primary production (GPP), total stem wood growth, and timber yield over a 100-year period using a process-based ecosystem model. Our simulations represented Norway spruce forests for five different bioclimatic zones spanning southern to northern Finland (61–67oN). Ten thinning regimes with thinning intensities ranging from 5 to 50 %, as well as an unthinned regime, were included in the calculations. The results showed that at the southern sites without thinning, the cumulative GPP and total stem wood growth were lower under the changing climate than in the current climate over the simulation period due to greater water depletion via evapotranspiration and reduced soil water availability. At the central and the northern sites, the climate changes increasingly enhanced the GPP and total stem wood growth due to the mitigation of low-temperature limitation and the improved soil water availability. Thinning generally mitigated the soil water deficit by reducing water evaporation and led to a reduction of the natural mortality. At the southern sites, light and moderate thinning intensities increased the GPP and total stem wood growth relative to sites with a changing climate that experienced no thinning. Moreover, moderate thinning resulted in the greatest timber yield. Heavy thinning, in which a large proportion of standing trees were removed, reduced the GPP and total stem wood growth despite allowing increased soil water availability. At the northern sites, all levels of thinning, including light thinning, decreased the GPP and stem wood growth, indicating that soil water availability was not a limiting factor for growth prior to thinning.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded through the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41201091), the National Basic Research Program of China (2010CB951204) and the Finnish Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro) of the Academy of Finland (127299-A5060-06). We thank the Finnish Environmental Institute and the Finnish Meteorological Institute for the climate change scenarios (FINADAPT) under IPCC’s guidance. We also acknowledge the assistance of American Journal Experts in revising the language of this paper.

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Correspondence to Zhen-Ming Ge.

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Ge, ZM., Kellomäki, S., Peltola, H. et al. Adaptive management to climate change for Norway spruce forests along a regional gradient in Finland. Climatic Change 118, 275–289 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0656-5

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Keywords

  • Gross Primary Production
  • Carbon Uptake
  • Soil Water Availability
  • Stem Wood
  • Water Depletion