Forests are subjected to stress from climatic and non-climatic sources. In this study, we have reported the results of inherent, as well as climate change driven vulnerability assessments for Indian forests. To assess inherent vulnerability of forests under current climate, we have used four indicators, namely biological richness, disturbance index, canopy cover, and slope. The assessment is presented as spatial profile of inherent vulnerability in low, medium, high and very high vulnerability classes. Fourty percent forest grid points in India show high or very high inherent vulnerability. Plantation forests show higher inherent vulnerability than natural forests. We assess the climate change driven vulnerability by combining the results of inherent vulnerability assessment with the climate change impact projections simulated by the Integrated Biosphere Simulator dynamic global vegetation model. While 46% forest grid points show high, very high, or extremely high vulnerability under future climate in the short term (2030s) under both representative concentration pathways 4.5 and 8.5, such grid points are 49 and 54%, respectively, in the long term (2080s). Generally, forests in the higher rainfall zones show lower vulnerability as compared to drier forests under future climate. Minimizing anthropogenic disturbance and conserving biodiversity can potentially reduce forest vulnerability under climate change. For disturbed forests and plantations, adaptive management aimed at forest restoration is necessary to build long-term resilience.
Environmental Management – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2017
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