This study was conducted to clarify the changes in vegetation that occurred due to changing environmental factors, especially climate, at Korean fir (Abies koreana) stands with different climatic conditions established on Mt. Halla, which is located on a southern island of South Korea. The difference of species composition between sites was large and depended on elevation and slope aspect at lower elevations, whereas not as much among stands or between sites at the highest elevations of each slope aspect. It was interpreted that differences and similarities among sites were dominated by the microclimate determined by the topographic conditions of each site. The result of vegetation dynamics analysis predicted that the Korean fir forests would be replaced by temperate forests such as Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) forests or shade intolerant forests composed of early successional species such as Korean cherry (Prunus maximowiczii) and Spreading yew (Taxus cuspidata) at lower elevations, while would continuously persist at the highest elevations. We interpreted the vegetation changes appeared at the lower elevations as an allogenic succession, as the recent rapid climate changes directly and indirectly dominated the change. The species distribution modeling predicted that the distributional range of Korean fir would decrease to 13.4 and 10.1% of the current distribution in 2050 and 2070, respectively. Further, the distribution modeling showed that the sites located at lower elevations would no longer be within the distributional range of Korean fir forest, and those at the highest elevations would be sparsely scattered in fragmented states.
Ecological Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 6, 2018
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