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Assessing vulnerability of forests to climate change in South Korea

This study demonstrated a framework to assess vulnerability of forests to climate change. We focused on how alterations of temperature and precipitation might affect forest type distributions and carbon-related functions. In particular, our framework considered three sectors of forest type distribution, net primary production, and soil carbon storage. Future projections were derived from mechanistic models for South Korean forests under the A1B scenarios of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Forest type distributions were simulated by the Hydrological and thermal analogy group model, while the MAPSS and CENTURY1 models estimated forest carbon flux/storage. We quantified normalized vulnerability indices for each sector. Our results indicate that the overall vulnerability of forest type distribution is greater in the west central regions and southeastern inlands. The vulnerabilities of carbon flux/storage show that net primary production of South Korean forests is relatively less susceptible to climate change, but a highly vulnerable area of soil carbon storage mainly spreads from the west central to the south east region. The spatio-temporal vulnerability map with a synoptic overview from this study might be useful for policy makers in preparing adaptive measures  and identifying management priorities.
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