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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-169
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-169
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Jun 2020

02 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Climate change and elevated CO2 favor forest over savanna under different future scenarios in South Asia

Dushyant Kumar, Mirjam Pfeiffer, Camille Gaillard, Liam Langan, and Simon Scheiter Dushyant Kumar et al.
  • Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract. South Asian vegetation provides essential ecosystem services to the region and its 1.7 billion inhabitants that are closely linked to its land-use forms and carbon storage potential. Yet, biodiversity is threatened by climate and land-use change. Understanding and assessing how ecosystems respond to simultaneous increases in atmospheric CO2 and future climate change is of vital importance to avoid undesired ecosystem change. A failure to react to increasing CO2 and climate change will likely have severe consequences for biodiversity and humankind. Here, we used the aDGVM2 to simulate vegetation dynamics in South Asia under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, and we explored how the presence or absence of CO2 fertilization influences vegetation responses to climate change. Simulated vegetation under both RCPs without CO2 fertilization effects showed a decrease in tree dominance and biomass, whereas simulations with CO2 fertilization showed an increase in biomass, canopy cover, and tree height and a decrease in biome-specific evapotranspiration by the end of the 21st century. The model predicted changes in above ground biomass and canopy cover that trigger biome transition towards tree-dominated systems. We found that savanna regions are at high risk of woody encroachment and transitioning into forest. We also found transitions of deciduous forest to evergreen forest in the mountain regions. C3 photosynthesis dependent vegetation was not saturated at current CO2 concentrations and the model simulated a strong CO2 fertilization effect with the rising CO2. Hence, vegetation in the region will likely remain a carbon sink. Projections showed that the bioclimatic envelopes of biomes need adjustments to account for shifts caused by climate change and eCO2. The results of our study help to understand the regional climate-vegetation interactions and can support the development of regional strategies to preserve ecosystem services and biodiversity under elevated CO2 and climate change.

Dushyant Kumar et al.

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Dushyant Kumar et al.

Dushyant Kumar et al.

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In this paper, we investigated the impact of climate change and rising CO2 on biomes using a vegetation model in South Asia, a region that is often neglected in global modeling studies. Understanding these impacts guide ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation. Our results indicate that savanna regions are at high risk of woody encroachment and transitioning into the forest, and the bioclimatic envelopes of biomes need adjustments to account for shifts caused by climate change and CO2.
In this paper, we investigated the impact of climate change and rising CO2 on biomes using a...
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