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Summary Report No. 8

Simulating forest dynamics in complex topography using gridded climatic data

H. Bugmann, A. Fischlin (May 1995)

The behaviour of the forest gap model ForClim was evaluated using climatic data along an altitudinal gradient in the European Alps defined by 12 grid points of a global database of 0.5° resolution. Forest succession was studied both under current climate as well as under four prescribed scenarios of climatic change obtained from General Circulation Models.

Under current climate derived from long-term measurements, the model produces a plausible spatial pattern of species composition, but the results obtained at single grid points are not reliable due to the low precision of the climatic input data. Under the climatic change scenarios, various responses of the species composition are observed, ranging from afforestation to breakdown phenomena. In some cases widely differing species compositions are obtained depending on the climate scenario used. Some prospects and limitations for studies using forest gap models on larger spatial scales are discussed.

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