Synthesis and assessment product 4.2: Tresholds of climate change in ecosystems

TitleSynthesis and assessment product 4.2: Tresholds of climate change in ecosystems
Publication TypeGovernment Report
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsFagre D.B., Charles C.W., Allen C.D., Birkeland C., Chapin, III F.S., Groffman P.M., Guntenspergen G.R., Knapp A.K., McGuire A.D., Mulholland J.P., Peters DC, Roby D.D., Sugihara G.
ARIS Log Number230863
Keywordsassessment, ecosystem, government publication, synthesis, threshold

In the past three decades, climate change has become a pronounced driver of ecosystem change. Changes in phenology, range shift of species, and increases in disturbances such as wildfires have all reflected ecosystem scales responses to a warming biosphere. There have also been abrupt, nonlinear changes in ecosystems where the level of response to incremental increases in temperature have suddenly changed trajectories. These thresholds of ecosystem change are not well understood but are potentially critical to adaptation strategies for managing natural resources in a rapidly changing world. This synthesis is intended to evaluate the current state of understanding of thresholds and to recommend possible actions to improve knowledge and adjust management priorities even with incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when they will occur.