Sustainability (2021-03-01)

Impacts of Future Climate Changes on Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Terrestrial Ecosystems over China

  • Shuaishuai Li,
  • Jiahua Zhang,
  • Sha Zhang,
  • Yun Bai,
  • Dan Cao,
  • Tiantian Cheng,
  • Zhongtai Sun,
  • Qi Liu,
  • Til Prasad Pangali Sharma

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 3049
p. 3049


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Understanding the response of terrestrial ecosystems to future climate changes would substantially contribute to the scientific assessment of vegetation–climate interactions. Here, the spatiotemporal distribution and dynamics of vegetation in China were projected and compared based on comprehensive sequential classification system (CSCS) model under representative concentration pathway (RCP) RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5 scenarios, and five sensitivity levels were proposed. The results show that the CSCS model performs well in simulating vegetation distribution. The number of vegetation types would increase from 36 to 40. Frigid–perhumid rain tundra and alpine meadow are the most distributed vegetation types, with an area of more than 78.45 × 104 km2, whereas there are no climate conditions suitable for tropical–extra-arid tropical desert in China. Some plants would benefit from climate changes to a certain extent. Warm temperate–arid warm temperate zone semidesert would expand by more than 1.82% by the 2080s. A continuous expansion of more than 18.81 × 104 km2 and northward shift of more than 124.93 km in tropical forest would occur across all three scenarios. However, some ecosystems would experience inevitable changes. More than 1.33% of cool temperate–extra-arid temperate zone desert would continuously shrink. Five sensitivity levels present an interphase distribution. More extreme scenarios would result in wider ecosystem responses. The evolutionary trend from cold–arid vegetation to warm–wet vegetation is a prominent feature despite the variability in ecosystem responses to climate changes.