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An assessment of climate change impacts on the tropical forests of Central America using the Holdridge Life Zone (HLZ) land classification system

An assessment of climate change impacts on the tropical forests of Central America using the Holdridge Life Zone (HLZ) land classification system

Khatun, K, Imbach, P and Zamora, J (2013) An assessment of climate change impacts on the tropical forests of Central America using the Holdridge Life Zone (HLZ) land classification system. iForest – Biogeosciences and Forestry, 6 (4). pp. 183-189. ISSN 1971-7458 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0743-006)

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Abstract

Ecological models have predicted shifts in forest biomes, yet there have been very few studies that have looked at the implications on carbon stocks due to these shifts. Carbon is closely correlated to biomass and constitutes an important characteristic of the forest ecosystem. It has implications for conservation and land use practices, especially for climate change mitigation strategies currently under discussion, such as REDD+. This study couples the Holdridge Life Zone (HLZ) classification with the ECHAM5 model, to evaluate the impacts of climate change using the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2, A1B and B1 for the Central American region. We utilize methodologies which combine biophysical variables with model output to assess the impacts on carbon stocks for two time periods, 2000 and 2100, . Results show that overall, the tropical category of the HLZ classification gains area as a result of one type of HLZ shifting to another forest type. In many cases the shifts result in some categories of HLZ being lost in their entirety. Elevation-associated life zones are particularly vulnerable to future climatic changes. A strong point of our approach is that differences between disaggregate regional and aggregate country levels can be compared. We suggest that a critical focus of conservation and management efforts should be concentrated on where vulnerable biomes are at most risk (biomes that shift and/or reduce fall under the vulnerable category).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, conservation, forests, Holdridge Life Zones
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 09:24
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/26958

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