The impact of a changing climate on net primary production of Mediterranean forests in southwest Western Australia
Brouwers, N., Coops, N., Hardy, G. and Matusick, G. (2014) The impact of a changing climate on net primary production of Mediterranean forests in southwest Western Australia. In: Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research XXIV IUFRO World Congress, 5 - 11 October, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Climate conditions in Mediterranean ecosystems have been predicted to undergo significant changes in the future. The southwest of Western Australia (SWWA) is considered a global guinea-pig with regards to impacts of climate change on forest health and function. The SWWA has experienced an average decrease in rainfall since the 1970s along with temperature rises of 0.15 °C per decade over this period. As a result, a number of endemic forest tree species have been undergoing significant declines in health and mortality since the early 1990s. This work reports on a study that used a time-series analysis approach using Net Primary Production (NPP) as an indicator of forest health. MODIS satellite imagery from 2000–2011 was used to look at trends in NPP for the SWWA. Climate data was used to find potential relationships between trends in temperature and rainfall and the observed trends in NPP. This study revealed that between 2000–2011, NPP mainly declined in the transition zone between tree-dominated vegetation and shrublands. We further explore the potential relationships with the climatology and the implications for the future forests in the SWWA.
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