University Of Tasmania

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Projecting canopy cover change in Tasmanian eucalypt forests using dynamically downscaled regional climate models

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 23:23 authored by Grant WilliamsonGrant Williamson, Lynda PriorLynda Prior, Grose, MR, Harris, RMB, David BowmanDavid Bowman
Loss of forest cover is a likely consequence of climate change in many parts of the world. To test the vulnerability of eucalypt forests in Australia’s island state of Tasmania, we modelled tree canopy cover in the period 2070–2099 under a high-emission scenario using the current climate–canopy cover relationship in conjunction with output from a dynamically downscaled regional climate model. The current climate–canopy cover relationship was quantified using Random Forest modelling, and the future climate projections were provided by three dynamically downscaled general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Three GCMs were used to show a range of projections for the selected scenario. We also explored the sensitivity of key endemic and non-endemic Tasmanian eucalypts to climate change. All GCMs suggested that canopy cover should remain stable (proportional cover change <&Nbsp;10%) across ~7&Nbsp;0% of the Tasmanian eucalypt forests. However, there were geographic areas where all models projected a decline in canopy cover due to increased summer temperatures and lower precipitation, and in addition, all models projected an increase in canopy cover in the coldest part of the state. The model projections differed substantially for other areas. Tasmanian endemic species appear vulnerable to climate change, but species that also occur on the mainland are likely to be less affected. Given these changes, restoration and carbon sequestration plantings must consider the species and provenances most suitable for future, rather than present, climates.


Publication title

Regional Environmental Change










School of Natural Sciences



Place of publication

New York, USA

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 Springer-Verlag

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems