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Climate Change and Ecosystem Services Output Efficiency in Southern Loblolly Pine Forests

Susaeta, Andres, Adams, Damian C., Carter, Douglas R., Dwivedi, Puneet
Environmental management 2016 v.58 no.3 pp. 417-430
Pinus taeda, carbon sequestration, climate change, climatic factors, coniferous forests, ecosystem services, humans, site index, species diversity, temperature, trees, Florida
Forests provide myriad ecosystem services that are vital to humanity. With climate change, we expect to see significant changes to forests that will alter the supply of these critical services and affect human well-being. To better understand the impacts of climate change on forest-based ecosystem services, we applied a data envelopment analysis method to assess plot-level efficiency in the provision of ecosystem services in Florida natural loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) forests. Using field data for n = 16 loblolly pine forest plots, including inputs such as site index, tree density, age, precipitation, and temperatures for each forest plot, we assessed the relative plot-level production of three ecosystem services: timber, carbon sequestered, and species richness. The results suggested that loblolly pine forests in Florida were largely inefficient in the provision of these ecosystem services under current climatic conditions. Climate change had a small negative impact on the loblolly pine forests efficiency in the provision of ecosystem services. In this context, we discussed the reduction of tree density that may not improve ecosystem services production.