Title: Optimal function explains forest responses to global change
Author: Dewar, Roderick; Franklin, Oskar; Makela, Annikki; McMurtrie, Ross E.; Valentine, Harry T.
Source: BioScience. 59(2): 127-139.
Description: Plant responses to global changes in carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen, and water availability are critical to future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, hydrology, and hence climate. Our understanding of those responses is incomplete, however. Multiple-resource manipulation experiments and empirical observations have revealed a diversity of responses, as well as some consistent patterns. But vegetation models--currently dominated by complex numerical simulation models--have yet to achieve a consensus among their predicted responses, let alone offer a coherent explanation of the observed ones. Here we propose an alternative approach based on relatively simple optimization models (OMs). We highlight the results of three recent forest OMs, which together explain a remarkable range of observed forest responses to altered resource availability. We conclude that OMs now offer a simple yet powerful approach to predicting the responses of forests--and, potentially, other plant types--to global change. We recommend ways in which OMs could be developed further in this direction.
Keywords: adaptation, global change, modeling, optimization, resource availability
View or Print this Publication (561 KB)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
Dewar, Roderick, C.; Franklin, Oskar; Makela, Annikki; McMurtrie, Ross E.; Valentine, Harry T. 2009. Optimal function explains forest responses to global change. BioScience. 59(2): 127-139.
Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility