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Forests as natural climate solutions: Integrating risks from a changing climate

Authors: 
Anderegg WRL, AT Trugman, G Badgley, CM Anderson, A Bartuska, P Ciais, D Cullenward, CB Field, J Freeman, SJ Goetz, JA Hicke, D Huntzinger, RB Jackson, J Nickerson, S Pacala, JT Randerson
Year: 
2020
Journal: 
Science
Journal Volume/Pages: 
368, eaaz7005

Forests have considerable potential to help mitigate human-caused climate change and provide society with many cobenefits. However, climate-driven risks may fundamentally compromise forest carbon sinks in the 21st century. Here, we synthesize the current understanding of climate-driven risks to forest stability from fire, drought, biotic agents, and other disturbances. We review how efforts to use forests as natural climate solutions presently consider and could more fully embrace current scientific knowledge to account for these climate-driven risks. Recent advances in vegetation physiology, disturbance ecology, mechanistic vegetation modeling, large-scale ecological observation networks, and remote sensing are improving current estimates and forecasts of the risks to forest stability. A more holistic understanding and quantification of such risks will help policy-makers and other stakeholders effectively use forests as natural climate solutions.

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