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CR 09:87-93 (1997)  -  DOI:

Assessment of the vulnerability of forest ecosystems to climate change in Mexico

Lourdes Villers-Ruiz*, Irma Trejo-Vázquez

Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 20850, 04510 México, D.F. México

An assessment of the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in Mexico to climate change is carried out on the basis of the scenarios projected by 3 climate models. A vegetation classification was performed according to 2 models, the Holdridge Life Zone Classification and the so-called Mexican Classification (a climate-vegetation classification based on typologies developed for Mexico). Projections of climate models were based on a doubled CO2 concentration condition. The models used were: the CCCM, which estimates an average increase in temperature for the country of 2.8°C and a decrease in annual precipitation of 7%; the GFDL-R30, which estimates an increase in both parameters by 3.2°C and 20% respectively; and a sensitivity model in which a homogeneous increase of 2°C in temperature and a 10% decrease in precipitation are applied throughout the country. In general, the cool temperate and warm temperate ecosystems were the most affected and tended to disappear under the conditions of the 3 scenarios. In contrast, the dry and very dry tropical forests and the warm thorn woodlands tended to occupy larger areas than at present, particularly under the conditions projected by the CCCM model. However, under the GFDL-derived scenario an increase in the distribution of moist and wet forests, which would be favoured by an increase in precipitation, was predicted.

Vegetation · Mexico · Forest ecosystems · Climate change

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