Ecology and Evolution
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
The structure and composition of forest ecosystems are expected to shift with climate‐induced changes in precipitation, temperature, fire, carbon mitigation strategies, and biological disturbance. These factors are likely to have biodiversity implications. However, climate‐driven forest ecosystem models used to predict changes to forest structure and composition are not coupled to models used to predict changes to biodiversity. We proposed integrating woodpecker response (biodiversity indicator) with forest ecosystem models. Woodpeckers are a good indicator species of forest ecosystem dynamics, because they are ecologically constrained by landscape‐scale forest components, such as composition, structure, disturbance regimes, and management activities. In addition, they are correlated with forest avifauna community diversity. In this study, we explore integrating woodpecker and forest ecosystem climate models. We review climate–woodpecker models and compare the predicted responses to observed climate‐induced changes. We identify inconsistencies between observed and predicted responses, explore the modeling causes, and identify the models pertinent to integration that address the inconsistencies. We found that predictions in the short term are not in agreement with observed trends for 7 of 15 evaluated species. Because niche constraints associated with woodpeckers are a result of complex interactions between climate, vegetation, and disturbance, we hypothesize that the lack of adequate representation of these processes in the current broad‐scale climate–woodpecker models results in model–data mismatch. As a first step toward improvement, we suggest a conceptual model of climate–woodpecker–forest modeling for integration. The integration model provides climate‐driven forest ecosystem modeling with a measure of biodiversity while retaining the feedback between climate and vegetation in woodpecker climate change modeling.
Walsh, ES, Vierling, KT, Strand, E, Bartowitz, K, Hudiburg, T. Climate change, woodpeckers, and forests: Current trends and future modeling needs. Ecol Evol. 2019; 9: 2305– 2319. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4876