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Modeling distribution changes of vegetation in China under future climate change

Weng, En-sheng, Zhou, Guang-sheng
Environmental modeling and assessment 2006 v.11 no.1 pp. 45-58
biogeography, climate change, dry forests, environmental sustainability, industrialization, models, mountains, population growth, savannas, statistics, tropical forests, tundra, China
Climatic change will result in great changes in vegetation. In this paper, a biogeographical model, the BIOME1, was used to predict potential vegetation distribution in China under climate change. Firstly, the BIOME1 was validated according to the climate-vegetation relationships in China. Kappa statistics showed that the validated BIOME1 was able to capture the geographical patterns of vegetation more accurately. Then, the validated BIOME1 was used to predict the distribution of vegetation of China under two climatic scenarios produced by a Regional Circulation Model, RegCM2/CN. The simulation results showed obvious northward shifts of the boreal, temperate deciduous and evergreen and tropical forests, a large expansion of tropical dry forest/savanna and reduction of tundra on the Tibetan Plateau. Three vulnerable regions sensitive to climate changes are pointed out, i.e., Northern China, the Tibetan Plateau and Southwestern China (mainly Hengduan Mountains in Yunnan Province and west of Sichuan Province). In recent decades, China has experienced dramatic industrialization and population growth, which exert strong pressure on the environment of China. The consequences of climate changes warrant more attention for maintaining a sustainable environment for China.