Pantropical distribution of short-rotation woody plantations: spatial probabilities under current and future climate

Schulze, K., Malek, Ž., Shchepashchenko, D. ORCID:, Lesiv, M. ORCID:, Fritz, S. ORCID:, & Verburg, P.H. (2023). Pantropical distribution of short-rotation woody plantations: spatial probabilities under current and future climate. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 28 (5) 10.1007/s11027-023-10066-5.

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Project: Integrating human agency in global-scale land change models (GLOLAND, FP7 311819)


Short-rotation woody plantations (SRWPs) play a major role in climate change mitigation and adaptation plans, because of their high yields of woody biomass and fast carbon storage. However, their benefits, trade-offs and growing-success are heavily location-dependent. Therefore, spatial data on the distribution of SRWPs are indispensable for assessing current distribution, trade-offs with other uses and potential contributions to climate mitigation. As current global datasets lack reliable information on SRWPs and full global mapping is difficult, we provide a consistent and systematic approach to estimate the spatial distribution of SRWPs in (sub-)tropical biomes under current and future climate. We combined three advanced methods (maximum entropy, random forest and multinomial regression) to evaluate spatially explicit probabilities of SRWPs. As inputs served a large empirical dataset on SRWP observations and 17 predictor variables, covering biophysical and socio-economic conditions. SRWP probabilities varied strongly between regions, and might not be feasible in major parts of (sub-)tropical biomes, challenging the feasibility of global mitigation plans that over-rely on tree plantations. Due to future climatic changes, SRWP probabilities decreased in many areas, particularly pronounced in higher emission scenarios. This indicates a negative feedback with higher emissions resulting in less mitigation potential. Less suitable land for SRWPs in the future could also result in fewer wood resources from these plantations, enhancing pressure on natural forests and hampering sustainability initiatives that use wood-based alternatives. Our results can help adding a more nuanced treatment of mitigation options and forest management in research on biodiversity and land use change.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Strategic Initiatives (SI)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 26 May 2023 07:03
Last Modified: 26 May 2023 07:03

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