Title: Modelling Current and Future Distribution of European Forest Categories
Citation: Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Ecological Modelling, ECEM '07 p. 1-2
Publisher: ECEM
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC43467
URI: http://www2.ogs.trieste.it/ecem07/documenti/ECEM2007_preliminar_program_long.pdf
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Next century afforestation and reforestation will be a crucial decision policy making topic in the context of landscape management towards European sustainability. Our study is linked to conservation policy making approaching theoretical distributional modelling, ecological theory and applied landscape management. We modelled actual and future dominant forest categories and estimated the shifts in vegetation in the period 2000¿2100 under IPCC SRES A1B scenario. The actual and future distribution of the 10 most dominant European Forest Categories (EEA, 2006) are simulated using Classification Tree Analysis (CTA) model. The CTA showed a misclassification error of 0.272. This was a relatively positive score considering the high variability of the data inputs due to large extent and fine pixel resolution. The output map was satisfactorily validated with an overall accuracy=0.69% and k=0.63, using 15% of field observation points. User¿s accuracy values for single categories show lower value in class 4 (Acidophyllous Oakwood and Oak-Birch forest) and class 5 (Mesophytic deciduous forest). Simulation of the IPCC SRES A1B scenario shows a general trend of a south-west to north-east shift in suitable forest categories habitat. Boreal and Hemiboreal forest category distribution shift towards the northeast while Alpine vegetation shrinks in altitude, almost disappearing in Pyrenean mountains. In Scandinavia and continental Europe, actual Hemiboreal forest habitat will be favourable to the beech forests, Acidophyllous Oak, and Oak-Birch forest. Thermophillous deciduous forest will also find suitable habitat replacing Hemiboreal forest in Poland and southwest Byelorussia. On the other side Mediterranean forest categories gain suitable habitats affecting temperate forests (Acidophillous oak, Beech and mesophytic deciduous forest). Mediterranean categories enlarge their potential habitat distribution in Italy, France, and Spain. They spread in south Britain and in northeast Europe towards Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Moldavia. The present modelling study has shown promising results in predicting actual and future forest distribution of European Forest Categories. However, further improvements could be made in the modelling technique including dispersal potentials, forest interactions and competition and also by taking into account forest ecology theory to propose realistic projections useful for policy making.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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