Central Appalachians Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Appalachians Climate Change Response Framework Project

Patricia Butler, Louis Iverson, Frank R. Thompson, Stephen Handler, P. Danielle Shannon, Chris Swanston, Kent Karriker, Jarel Bartig, Stephanie Connolly, William Dijak, Scott Bearer
Created: 10/11/2016 -

Abstract

Forest ecosystems in the Central Appalachians will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the 21st century. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in the Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest-Coniferous Forest-Meadow and Eastern Broadleaf Forest Provinces of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland for a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts on forest ecosystems was considered by a multidisciplinary panel of scientists, land managers, and academics in order to assess ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. Appalachian (hemlock)/northern hardwood forests, large stream floodplain and riparian forests, small stream riparian forests, and spruce/fir forests were determined to be the most vulnerable. Dry/mesic oak forests and dry oak and oak/pine forests and woodlands were determined to be least vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-term natural resource planning.

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Keywords

Scale
Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed
Forestry
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Habitat/Biome Type
Terrestrial
Forest
Region
Mid-Atlantic