Effects of Climate Variation on Subalpine and Coastal Vegetation and LandscapesEPA Grant Number: U915592
Title: Effects of Climate Variation on Subalpine and Coastal Vegetation and Landscapes
Investigators: Carlson, Charles T.
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $82,528
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Climate Change , Global Climate Change
The goal of this research project is to identify climate change impacts versus direct human impacts on the structure of subalpine and coastal woodlands along the west coast of the United States. This study will examine the response of forest elements to global warming and other human dimensions of environmental change on the California coast and on the slopes of the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range. The highland versus lowland response to climate change will be examined. Lower elevation coastal woodlands such as those found on the Point Reyes Peninsula, CA, and subalpine forests such as those found on Mount Shasta, CA, are selected for study. The purpose of this research is to examine the stability of the vegetation of subalpine treeline in the Cascade Range and coastal woodland in California at the elevational extremes of woodland forest, because these ecotones may be the first to show response to climate change.
Mount Shasta is one of the southernmost peaks of the Cascade Range, which is comprised of a series of island-like volcanoes. The location of study sites and current boundaries of the subalpine treeline zone were determined through the analysis of large-scale aerial photographs and U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000 scale topographic maps. Point quarter methods were used to establish sites for tree sampling. Tree core samples were taken to assess tree growth response to climate variation. A geographic information systems (GIS) database will be constructed to perform spatial analysis using ERDAS Imagine. To perform analysis of woodland change, tree cores will be taken and combined with other types of data (e.g., historic aerial photographs).
This study will differentiate between climate change impacts and direct human impacts in the structure of subalpine and coastal woodlands along the west coast of the United States.