Reference : Refining species traits in a dynamic vegetation model to project the impacts of clima...
Scientific journals : Article
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Refining species traits in a dynamic vegetation model to project the impacts of climate change on tropical trees in Central Africa
Dury, Marie mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) > Exotic >]
Mertens, L. [Modélisation du Climat et des Cycles Biogéochimiques, UR SPHERES, University of Liège, Quartier Agora, Bât. B5c, Allée du six Août 19c, Liège, 4000, Belgium, Biologie du Comportement, UR SPHERES, University of Liège, Quai Van Beneden 22, Liège, 4020, Belgium]
Fayolle, Adeline mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Ingénierie des biosystèmes (Biose) > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels >]
Verbeeck, H. [Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology (CAVElab), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, Ghent, 9000, Belgium]
Hambuckers, Alain mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de Biologie, Ecologie et Evolution > Biologie du comportement - Ethologie et psychologie animale >]
François, Louis mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) > Modélisation du climat et des cycles biogéochimiques >]
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] Climate change ; Dynamic vegetation model ; Ecosystem services ; Traits ; Tree species ; Tropical Africa ; Biomass ; Carbon dioxide ; Climate models ; Ecosystems ; Forestry ; Land use ; Physiological models ; Population distribution ; Tropics ; Vegetation ; Africa ; Biomass ; Carbon Dioxide ; Ecosystems ; Forestry ; Land Use ; Tropics ; Central Africa
[en] African tropical ecosystems and the services they provide to human society suffer from an increasing combined pressure of land use and climate change. How individual tropical tree species respond to climate change remains relatively unknown. In this study, we refined the species characterization in the CARAIB (CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) dynamic vegetation model by replacing plant functional type morpho-physiological traits by species-specific traits. We focus on 12 tropical tree species selected for their importance in both the plant community and human society. We used CARAIB to simulate the current species net primary productivity (NPP), biomass and potential distribution and their changes in the future. Our results indicate that the use of species-specific traits does not necessarily result in an increase of predicted current NPPs. The model projections for the end of the century highlight the large uncertainties in the future of African tropical species. Projected changes in species distribution vary greatly with the general circulation model (GCM) and, to a lesser extent, with the concentration pathway. The question about long-term plant response to increasing CO2 concentrations also leads to contrasting results. In absence of fertilization effect, species are exposed to climate change and might lose 25% of their current distribution under RCP8.5 (12.5% under RCP4.5), considering all the species and climatic scenarios. The vegetation model projects a mean biomass loss of -21.2% under RCP4.5 and -34.5% under RCP8.5. Potential range expansions, unpredictable due to migration limitations, are too limited for offsetting range contraction. By contrast, if the long-term species response to increasing [CO2] is positive, the range reduction is limited to 5%. However, despite a mean biomass increase of 12.2%, a positive CO2 feedback might not prevent tree dieback. Our analysis confirms that species will respond differently to new climatic and atmospheric conditions, which may induce new competition dynamics in the ecosystem and affect ecosystem services. © 2018 by the authors.

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