Quantifying Vulnerability of Quaking Aspen Woodlands and Associated Bird Communities to Global Climate Change in the Northern Great Basin
Posted byCAKE Team
Aspen populations are in decline across western North America due to altered fire regimes, herbivory, drought, pathogens, and competition with conifers. Aspen stands typically support higher avian biodiversity than surrounding habitats, and maintaining current distributions of several avian species is likely tied to persistence of aspen on the landscape. We are examining effects of climate change on aspen and associated avian communities in isolated mountain ranges of the northern Great Basin, by coupling empirical models of avian-habitat relationships with spatially-explicit landscape simulations of vegetation and disturbance dynamics (using LANDIS-II) under various climate change scenarios.
We are addressing the following questions:
- What are the current successional, structural, and distribution patterns of aspen on the landscape, and how do these patterns affect bird abundance?
- How will fire and climate change affect aspen condition and distribution?
- What are the implications for the long-term persistence of associated avian communities?
The results from our field investigations will provide information not currently available for the northern Great Basin and, when combined with our modeled future projections, will help land managers develop conservation and restoration strategies for both bird and aspen communities. Indeed, much outreach has already occurred, and the project has already helped managers develop strategies through a host of webinars, presentations, and articles.
- Quantifying Habitat Relationships of Songbirds in Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) and Other Montane Communities of the Jarbidge Mountains, Nevada (open access; attached below)
- Factsheet: Management of Aspen in a Changing Environment(attached below
- Factsheet: The Role of Fire in Aspen Ecology and Restoration(attached below
- Fire modulates climate change response of simulated aspen distribution across topoclimatic gradients in a semi-arid montane landscape (not open-access)
- Fire regimes of quaking aspen in the Mountain West (not open-access)
Quantifying Vulnerability of Quaking Aspen Woodlands and Associated Bird Communities to Global Climate Change in the Northern Great Basin. (2013). Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative. https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/59f4b0a5e4b063d5d307d830.