Climate-induced forest dieback: An escalating global phenomenon?




Forests, which today cover 30 percent of the world’s land surface (FAO, 2006), are being rapidly and directly transformed in many areas by the impacts of expanding human populations and economies. Less evident are the pervasive effects of ongoing climatic changes on the condition and status of forests around the world. Recent examples of drought and heat-related forest stress and dieback (defined here as tree mortality noticeably above usual mortality levels) are being documented from all forested continents, making it possible to begin to see global patterns. This article introduces these patterns and considers the possibility that many forests and woodlands today are at increasing risk of climate-induced dieback. A more comprehensive article (Allen et al., 2009) addresses this topic in considerably greater detail.

While climate events can damage forests in many ways ranging from ice storms to tornadoes and hurricanes, the emphasis here is on climatic water stress, driven by drought and warm temperatures.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Climate-induced forest dieback: An escalating global phenomenon?
Series title Unasylva
Volume 60
Issue 231/232
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 43
Last page 49
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