Climate change would lead to a sharp acceleration of Central African forests dynamics by the end of the century

Claeys Florian, Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, Picard Nicolas, Ouédraogo Dakis-Yaoba, Tadesse Mahlet, Herault Bruno, Baya Fidèle, Bénédet Fabrice, Cornu Guillaume, Mortier Frédéric. 2019. Climate change would lead to a sharp acceleration of Central African forests dynamics by the end of the century. Environmental Research Letters, 14 (4):044002, 22 p.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
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Abstract : Impacts of climate change on the future dynamics of Central African forests are still largely unknown, despite the acuteness of the expected changes and the extent of these forests. The high diversity of species and the potentially equivalent diversity of responses to climate modifications are major difficulties encountered when using predictive models to evaluate these impacts.
 In this study, we applied a mixture of inhomogeneous matrix models to a long-term experimental site located in M'Baïki forests, in the Central African Republic. This model allows the clustering of tree species into processes-based groups while simultaneously selecting explanatory climate and stand variables at the group-level. Using downscaled outputs of 10 general circulation models (GCM), we projected the future forest dynamics up to the end of the century, under constant climate and Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 and 8.5. Through comparative analyses across Gcm versions, we identified tree species meta-groups, which are more adapted than ecological guilds to describe the diversity of tree species dynamics and their responses
 to climate change.
 Projections under constant climate were consistent with a forest ageing phenomenon, with a slowdown in tree growth and a reduction of the relative abundance of short-lived pioneers. Projections under climate change showed a general increase in growth, mortality and recruitment. This acceleration in forest dynamics led to a strong natural thinning effect, with different magnitudes across species. These differences caused a compositional shift in favour of long-lived pioneers, at the detriment of shade-bearers.
 Consistent with other field studies and projections, our results show the importance of elucidating the diversity of tree species responses when considering the general sensitivity of Central African forests dynamics to climate change.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : forêt tropicale, Forêt, Changement climatique, Écologie, Dynamique des populations

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Afrique centrale, République centrafricaine, Congo, République démocratique du Congo, Ghana

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
P40 - Meteorology and climatology
F40 - Plant ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 6 (2019-) - Changement climatique

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Claeys Florian, AgroParisTech (FRA) - auteur correspondant
  • Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1136-4307
  • Picard Nicolas, Université de Montpellier (FRA)
  • Ouédraogo Dakis-Yaoba, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Tadesse Mahlet, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR AGAP (FRA)
  • Herault Bruno, CIRAD-ES-UPR Forêts et sociétés (CIV) ORCID: 0000-0002-6950-7286
  • Baya Fidèle, Ministère des eaux et forêts, chasses, pêches et tourisme (République centrafricaine) (CAF)
  • Bénédet Fabrice, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0001-9281-5677
  • Cornu Guillaume, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-7523-5176
  • Mortier Frédéric, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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