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Open AccessArticle

Assessing Climate Change Impact on Forest Habitat Suitability and Diversity in the Korean Peninsula

1
Institute of Life Science and Natural Resources, Korea University, Seoul 02481, Korea
2
Department of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02481, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(5), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050259
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Smart Forestry)
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Abstract

Habitat changes in temperate forests are more vulnerable to climate change than tropical or boreal forests. This study assessed forest habitat suitability and diversity to determine the impact of climate change on the Korean Peninsula. We used the MaxEnt (Maximum Entropy) species distribution model, three key climate indices, and two representative climate change scenarios, using short and long-term data. Two of the three key climate indices related to temperature were more capricious than the precipitation-related index in the future. In the baseline prediction, both statistical and qualitative validation using the actual vegetation map showed excellent results. Regarding forest habitat suitability, northward migration and substantial increase were definitely distinctive in warm temperate evergreen forest. On the other hand, subalpine forest areas decreased significantly due to climate change; the suitable area for Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 2070s decreased by more than half. With regard to forest habitat diversity, regions with high diversity declined due to climate change. In the RCP 8.5 scenario, areas where all three forest types are suitable no longer appeared; however, in the case of RCP 4.5 2050s, suitable areas for two forest types increased, which implies climate change is not only negative in terms of diversity. As this negative prediction of future change is discouraging, active mitigation and adaptation are required to prevent these changes. The sustainability of future ecosystems is still dependent on our efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change impact; forest habitat suitability; forest habitat diversity; Korean Peninsula; MaxEnt climate change impact; forest habitat suitability; forest habitat diversity; Korean Peninsula; MaxEnt
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Lim, C.-H.; Yoo, S.; Choi, Y.; Jeon, S.W.; Son, Y.; Lee, W.-K. Assessing Climate Change Impact on Forest Habitat Suitability and Diversity in the Korean Peninsula. Forests 2018, 9, 259.

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