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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2001

Herbivory-mediated responses of selected boreal forests to climatic change

Niemela P, Chapin FS, Danell K, Bryant JP


Recent efforts to project vegetation responses to climatic warming have emphasized the tight linkages between climate and vegetation distribution. Here we provide several examples indicating that the direct effects of climatic warming on boreal vegetation can be qualitatively different than the indirect effects mediated by climatic responses of herbivores. These herbivore-mediated vegetation responses to climatic warming will likely vary regionally. In southern Fennoscandia, we project that the climatically induced changes in animal populations should enhance the density of spruce at the expense of pine and broadleafed trees. In northern Fennoscandia we project reduced herbivory on broadleafed trees and increased herbivory on pine, leading to an increase in broadleafed trees and spruce and a reduction in pine. Climatic warming in interior Alaska may reduce herbivory on broadleafed trees and increase herbivory on evergreen spruce, thus reinforcing the impact of increased fire frequency

Published in

Climatic Change
2001, Volume: 48, number: 2-3, pages: 427-440

      SLU Authors

    • Danell, Kjell

      • Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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