A simulation model for the transient effects of climate change on forest landscapes

I. Colin Prentice*, Martin T. Sykes, Wolfgang Cramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

349 Citations (Scopus)


Forests are likely to show complex transient responses to rapid changes in climate. The model described here simulates the dynamics of forest landscapes in a changing environment with simple phenomenological equations for tree growth processes and local environmental feedbacks. Tree establishment and growth rates are modified by species-specific functions describing the effects of winter and summer temperature limitations, accumulated annual foliage net assimilation and sapwood respiration as functions of temperature, CO2 fertilization, and growing-season drought. These functions provide external conditions for the simulation of patch-scale forest dynamics by a forest succession model, FORSKA, in which all of the trees on each 0.1 ha patch interact by competition for light and nutrients. The landscape is simulated as an array of such patches. The probability of disturbance on a patch is a power function of time since disturbance. Forest structure, composition and biomass simulated for the landscape average in boreal and temperate deciduous forests approach reasonable equilibrium values in 200-400 years. A climatic warning scenario is applied to central Sweden, where temperature and precipitation increases are shown to interact with each other and with soil water capacity in determining the transient and equilibrium responses of the forest landscape to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-70
Number of pages20
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'A simulation model for the transient effects of climate change on forest landscapes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this