Selecting tree species for testing climate change migration hypotheses using forest inventory data
The lack of objective tree species lists hinders the assessment of climate change effects on tree species distributions. The goal of this studywas to develop and evaluate criteria for selecting tree species used in large-scale tree migration monitoring efforts. The results of this study indicate that tree migration conclusions are highly dependant on the species selected for examination. It was found that tree species' median latitudes or forecasted future areas provided objective criteria for development of species lists for migration hypothesis testing with the latter being insensitive to simulation error. Furthermore, only 10-2015 of the top species, in terms of high median latitudes or loss in forecasted future area, are needed to maximize the sensitivity of amigration index. The use of such criteria in this study indicated a northward shift of sensitive tree populations of 27 km. It is suggested that examining species only the most likely to migrate serves as an objective starting point for migration detection. In contrast, the inclusion of all tree species commonly observed in large-scale forest inventories can obfuscate migration detection with tree species that have little ecological reason to immediately migrate in a changing climate.