Canadian Forest Service Publications

Migration-based simulations for Canadian trees show limited tracking of suitable climate under climate change. (2022). Boisvert-Marsh, L., Pedlar, J. H., de Blois, S., Le Squin, A., Lawrence, K., McKenney, D. W., Williams, C., & Aubin, I. . Diversity and Distributions, 28, 2330–2348.

Year: 2022

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40843

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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Plain Language Summary

Species distribution modelling (SDM) has been used to understand how climate affects where tree species currently grow and how those suitable climate conditions could change in the future. These models project that the suitable climate could shift by hundreds of kilometers in Eastern Canada by the end of this century. However, few models integrate species-specific migration ability into these models to evaluate whether trees can track projected changes. We ran simulations of migration ability for 10 tree species in eastern Canada over 90 years and combined these outputs with four projections of species' suitable climate through to 2100. We found that all species demonstrated northward range shifts through 2100, but the magnitude and rate of that shift varied by species and time period. Regardless of RCP, limits of suitable climate were found to be north of simulated range limits, with lags increasing through time, especially for temperate tree species. On average, the simulated distribution that remained within suitable climatic habitat showed higher decreases under RCP8.5 than RCP4.5, with large areas of the rear edge of the simulated distribution becoming partially or completely climatically unsuitable for many species. This study underlines the limited extent to which trees will be able to track climate change via natural migration.