New study on climate and topography from Pepperwood’s TBC3

A new publication by members of Pepperwood’s TBC3—including our own Michelle Halbur and Celeste Dodge—is an important step in understanding the role of topography in how species will respond to climate change. Entitled Effects of Topoclimatic Complexity on the Composition of Woody Plant Communities, the study draws on research conducted at the 50 forest monitoring plots established on our preserve by the UC Berkeley Ackerly Lab.

At broader scales it has long been understood that diverse climates are linked with species diversity. This paper fills a knowledge gap around how the interface of topography and climate influences species diversity at the smaller scale of our preserve—the scale at which landscapes are actually managed.

Applications of this study include providing insights into the importance of small-scale topography in future conservation strategies. The data from the forest monitoring plots studied in this work also serves as a baseline for long-term studies of vegetation dynamics in response to climate change applicable to landscapes throughout our region.

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