NCEAS Project 12665

Synthesizing frontiers in modeling drought- and insect-induced tree mortality with climate change

  • William R. L. Anderegg
  • Rosie A. Fisher
  • Jeffrey A. Hicke

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group12th—15th February 2013Participant List  
Working Group26th—28th August 2013Participant List  

Forest ecosystems store large amounts of carbon and absorb nearly a quarter of human emissions of carbon dioxide annually. Yet recent drought and insect-induced, widespread forest die-offs highlight that climate change could threaten these carbon sinks from boreal regions to the tropics. Consequently, drought/insect-induced forest mortality constitutes a major uncertainty terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycling and climate change impacts. Despite its importance, current climate-vegetation models do not accurately capture forest die-off due to limitations in understanding of how trees die during drought, modeling infestation dynamics, and appropriate datasets for model validation. The proposed working group will 1) synthesize available modeling strategies for simulating tree mortality at different scales from the individual tree to global ecosystems, 2) characterize drought-induced tree mortality and insect outbreak dynamics in each modeling framework, 3) summarize interactions between insect dynamics and abiotic stress on trees, 4) compile datasets that can be used as benchmarking tests for model validation and intercomparison, and 5) present multiple strategies for simulating forest die-off and carbon cycle impacts at different spatial and temporal scales.