Tree mortality in gap models: Application to climate change

TitleTree mortality in gap models: Application to climate change
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsKeane RI, Austin M, Field C, Huth A, Lexer MJ, Peters DC, Solomon A, Wyckoff P
JournalClimatic Change
Date PublishedDecember 1, 2001
Accession NumberJRN00347
ARIS Log Number111125

Gap models have been used extensively to study successional dynamics for a wide variety of purposes and applications. Moreover, the gap model structure and design have been used in a host of other forest and grassland succession models; comparisons have also been made between forest and grassland structure and dynamics using gap models. Yet, considering the widespread use of gap models, it seems somewhat surprising that few modelers have critically evaluated the limitations of gap modeling and shortcomings of the algorithms that comprise the gap model. A model component that has received the least critical attention is the simulation of plant death (i.e., mortality), which is strikingly similar across nearly all gap models. In this paper, we review the treatment of mortality in gap models, evaluate the relationships used to control mortality in the current generation of gap models, and then assess the prospects for making improvements, especially for applications involving global climate change.