Forest Mortality, Economics, and Climate

Forest Mortality, Economics, and Climate

The Forest Mortality, Economics, and Climate (FMEC) project is a 5-year United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) project that is based at OCCRI and includes other researchers at Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and University of California Santa Barbara.

Forests of western North America have experienced rapid and significant increases in severe die-offs from droughts, insect attacks, and fires since the turn of the century. Tree mortality rates have increased significantly in this region, owing in large part to regional warming and subsequent water deficits. This increased mortality has led to closures of many lumber mills. The Forest Mortality, Economics, and Climate project aims to understand the interactions and feedbacks by which human decisions and forest ecosystems influence each other.

We are using the Community Land Model (CLM) to predict tree mortality due to drought, fire, and insect attack across western North America. By coupling an economic model and harvest module to CLM we can identify policies and management strategies that preserve forest function. Our goal is to project the impacts of adaptive management, climate change, and disturbances on forest ecosystems.                                      

To investigate uncertainty in climate driven landscape change we are using regional climate model simulations from weather@home with a coupled dynamic vegetation model. Generating a large ensemble of simulations allows us to assess uncertainty in the spatial distribution of vegetation under future climate.

Find out more about the project here