Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.5194/bgd-9-6293-2012
Title (Primary) Sensitivity of North Patagonian temperate rainforests to changes in rainfall regimes: a process-based, dynamic forest model
Author Gutiérrez, A.G.; Armesto, J.J.; Díaz, M.F.; Huth, A.
Journal Biogeosciences Discussions
Year 2012
Department OESA
Volume 9
Issue 6
Page From 6293
Page To 6333
Language englisch
Abstract Rainfall changes due to climate change and their potential impacts on forests demand the development of predictable tools coupling vegetation dynamics to hydrologic processes. Such tools need to be accurate at local scales (i.e. < 100 ha) to develop efficient forest management strategies for climate change adaptation. In this study, we developed and tested a dynamic forest model to predict hydrological balance of North Patagonian temperate rainforests on Chiloé Island, Chile (42° S). The developed model includes detailed calculations of forest water fluxes and incorporates the dynamical linkage of rainfall regimes to soil moisture, and individual tree growth. We confronted model results with detailed field measurements of water fluxes in a young secondary stand (YS). We used the model to compare forest sensitivity in the YS and an old-growth stand (OG, > 500 yr-old), i.e. changes in forest evapotranspiration, soil moisture and forest structure (biomass and basal area). We evaluated sensitivity using changes in rainfall regimes comparable to future climatic scenarios for this century in the study region. The model depicted well the hydrological balance of temperate rainforests. We found a higher evapotranspiration in OG than YS under current climatic conditions. Dryer climatic conditions predicted for this century in the study area led to changes in the hydrological balance that impacted forest structure, with stronger impacts in OG. Changes in climatic parameters decreased evapotranspiration (up to 15 % in OG compared to current values) and soil moisture to 32 % . These changes in water fluxes induced decreases in above-ground biomass in OG (up to 27 %). Our results support the use of the model for detailed analyses of climate change impacts on hydrological balance of forests. Also, it provides a tool suitable for analyses of the impacts of multiple drivers of global change on forest processes (e.g., climate change, fragmentation, forest management).

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Gutiérrez, A.G., Armesto, J.J., Díaz, M.F., Huth, A. (2012):
Sensitivity of North Patagonian temperate rainforests to changes in rainfall regimes: a process-based, dynamic forest model
Biogeosciences Discussions 9 (6), 6293 - 6333