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Article in Journal ()

Convergence of bark investment according to fire and climate structures ecosystem vulnerability to future change

Citation
Pellegrini A, Anderegg WRL, Paine CET, Hoffmann WA, Kartzinel T, Rabin SS, Sheil D, Franco AC & Pacala SW (2017) Convergence of bark investment according to fire and climate structures ecosystem vulnerability to future change, Ecology Letters, 20 (3), pp. 307-316.

Abstract
Fire regimes in savannas and forests are changing over much of the world. Anticipating the impact of these changes requires understanding how plants are adapted to fire. Here we test whether fire imposes a broad selective force on a key fire-tolerance trait, bark thickness, across 572 tree species distributed worldwide. We show that investment in thick bark is a pervasive adaptation in frequently burned areas across savannas and forests in both temperate and tropical regions where surface fires occur. Geographic variability in bark thickness is largely explained by annual burned area and precipitation seasonality. Combining environmental and species distribution data allowed us to assess the vulnerability to future climate and fire conditions: tropical rainforests are especially vulnerable, whereas seasonal forests and savannas are more robust. The strong link between fire and bark thickness provides an avenue for assessing the vulnerability of tree communities to fire and demands inclusion in global models.

Keywords
Bark thickness; fire ecology; forest; functional traits; global change; savanna

StatusPublished
AuthorsPellegrini Adam, Anderegg William R L, Paine C E Timothy, Hoffmann William A, Kartzinel Tyler, Rabin Sam S, Sheil Douglas, Franco Augusto C, Pacala Stephen W
Publication date03/2017
Publication date online11/01/2017
Date accepted by journal01/12/2016
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN 1461-023X
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Ecology Letters: Volume 20, Issue 3

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