Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Integrating climate change and land use impacts to explore forest conservation policy

Version 1 : Received: 21 June 2017 / Approved: 21 June 2017 / Online: 21 June 2017 (03:22:24 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 1 August 2017 / Approved: 3 August 2017 / Online: 3 August 2017 (06:11:35 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Forests 2017, 8, 321
DOI: 10.3390/f8090321

Abstract

A scenario-based approach to the impacts of land use and climate change can help in identifying future policy directions. This study models the impacts of different land use and climate change scenarios on the forest ecosystems of South Korea to identify national-scale forest policy options. Climatically suitable forest areas for 1,031 climate vulnerable plant species were identified for current time and for 2050. We calculated change in species richness under four climate projections. We built forest conversion models and created four 2050 forest scenarios: (1) forest loss continues at current rates; (2) similar loss, but with conservation in areas with suitable future climates; (3) a reduction of loss by 50%; and (4) a combination of preservation and overall reduction of loss by 50%. We then crossed the forest conversion models with the climate-driven change in species richness, and categorized current forest areas into four classes to offer forest policy alternatives. By deploying the scenarios which preserve climatically suitable forests, the average species richness where forests converting to other land uses reduced significantly. We suggest conserving forests with suitable climates for biodiversity conservation and the establishment of forest plantations targeted to areas where species richness will decline based on our results.

Subject Areas

biodiversity; climate change; climate refugia; forest conservation policies; forest conversion

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