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A global climate niche for giant trees

Scheffer, Marten; Xu, Chi; Hantson, Stijn; Holmgren, Milena; Los, Sietse O.; van Nes, Egbert H.

Rainforests are among the most charismatic as well as the most endangered ecosystems of the world. However, although the effects of climate change on tropical forests resilience is a focus of intense research, the conditions for their equally impressive temperate counterparts remain poorly understood, and it remains unclear whether tropical and temperate rainforests have fundamental similarities or not. Here we use new global data from high precision laser altimetry equipment on satellites to reveal for the first time that across climate zones 'giant forests' are a distinct and universal phenomenon, reflected in a separate mode of canopy height (~40 m) worldwide. Occurrence of these giant forests (cutoff height > 25 m) is negatively correlated with variability in rainfall and temperature. We also demonstrate that their distribution is sharply limited to situations with a mean annual precipitation above a threshold of 1,500 mm that is surprisingly universal across tropical and temperate climates. The total area with such precipitation levels is projected to increase by ~4 million km2 globally. Our results thus imply that strategic ... mehr

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Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000084609
Veröffentlicht am 19.07.2018
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14167
Zitationen: 1
Web of Science
Zitationen: 1
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung - Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Jahr 2018
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1354-1013
KITopen-ID: 1000084609
HGF-Programm 12.02.02 (POF III, LK 01)
Erschienen in Global change biology
Band 24
Heft 7
Seiten 2875–2883
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 02.05.2018
Schlagworte alternative ecosystem state, canopy height, LiDAR, precipitation temperate rainforest, remote sensing, resilience, threshold, tropical rainforest
Nachgewiesen in Web of Science
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