Forest resilience under global environmental change: Do we have the information we need? A systematic review.

08:00 EDT 12th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Forest resilience under global environmental change: Do we have the information we need? A systematic review."

The capacity of forests to recover after disturbance, i.e., their resilience, determines their ability to persist and function over time. Many variables, natural and managerial, affect forest resilience. Thus, understanding their effects is critical for the development of sound forest conservation and management strategies, especially in the context of ongoing global environmental changes. We conducted a representative review, meta-analysis, of the forest literature in this topic (search terms "forest AND resilience"). We aimed to identify natural conditions that promote or jeopardize resilience, assess the efficacy of post-disturbance management practices on forest recovery, and evaluate forest resilience under current environmental changes. We surveyed more than 2,500 articles and selected the 156 studies (724 observations) that compared and quantified forest recovery after disturbance under different contexts. Context of recovery included: resource gradients (moisture and fertility), post-disturbance biomass reduction treatments, species richness gradients, incidence of a second disturbance, and disturbance severity. Metrics of recovery varied from individual tree growth and reproduction, to population abundance, to species richness and cover. Analyses show management practices only favored recovery through increased reproduction (seed production) and abundance of recruitment stages. Higher moisture conditions favored recovery, particularly in dry temperate regions; and in boreal forests, this positive effect increased with regional humidity. Biomass reduction treatments were only effective in increasing resilience after a drought. Early recruiting plant stages benefited from increased severity, while disturbance severity was associated with lower recovery of remaining adult trees. This quantitative review provides insight into the natural conditions and management practices under which forest resilience is enhanced and highlights conditions that could jeopardize future resilience. We also identified important knowledge gaps, such as the role of diversity in determining forest resilience and the lack of data in many regions.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0222207


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