Apr 5, 2020

Quantifying the demographic vulnerabilities of dry woodlands to climate and competition using range-wide monitoring data

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Robert K ShriverJ. B. Bradford


Climate change is expected to alter the distribution and abundance of tree species, impacting ecosystem structure and function. Yet, anticipating where this will occur is often hampered by a lack of understanding of how demographic rates, most notably recruitment, vary in response to climate and competition across a species range. Using large-scale monitoring data on two dry woodland tree species (Pinus edulis and Juniperus osteosperma), we develop an approach to infer recruitment, survival, and growth of both species across their range. In doing so, we account for ecological and statistical dependencies inherent in large-scale monitoring data. We find that warming and drying conditions generally lead to declines in recruitment and survival, but there were some idiosyncrasy in the strength of responses across species. Climate conditions lead to vulnerable regions, such as Pinus edulis in N. Arizona, where both survival and recruitment are low. Our approach provides a path forward for leveraging emerging large-scale monitoring and remotely sensed data to anticipate the impacts of global change on species distributions.

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