Storms, Fires and Insect Pests: Bad for Trees in a Warming World?
Kuparinen, A., Savolainen, O. and Schurr, F.M. 2010. Increased mortality can promote evolutionary adaptation of forest trees to climate change. Forest Ecology and Management 259: 1003-1008.
The three scientists say their simulations predict that "after 100 years of climate change, the genotypic growth period length of both species will lag more than 50% behind the climatically determined optimum," but that "this lag is reduced by increased mortality of established trees," in conformity with the prior suggestion of Savolainen et al. (2004) and Kramer et al. (2008) that "the persistence of maladapted old trees preventing the establishment of seedlings better adapted to a changed environment" is not helpful to their long-term survival. Indeed, it is not only not helpful; it is detrimental!
In light of the fact that Kuparinen et al.'s findings suggest, as they put it, that "adaptation might be sped up if mortality factors such as storms, fires, or insect outbreaks get more common in the future," it could actually turn out to be a positive thing -- in this particular instance, at least, and for these specific species -- if some of the presumed negative climate-alarmist-envisioned consequences of global warming were to become a reality.
Kramer, K., Bulteveld, J., Forstreuter, M., Geburek, T., Leonardi, S., Menozzi, P., Povillon, F., Scherlhaas, M.J., Teissier du Cros, E., Vendramin, G.G. and van der Werf, D.C. 2008. Bridging the gap between ecophysiological and genetic knowledge to assess the adaptive potential of European beech. Ecological Modelling 216: 333-353.
Rehfeldt, G.R., Tchebakova, N.M., Parfenova, Y.I., Wykoff, W.R., Kuzmina, N.A. and Milyutin, L.I. 2002. Intraspecific responses to climate change in Pinus sylvestris. Global Change Biology 8: 912-929.
Savolainen, O., Bokma, F., Garcia-Gil, R., Komulainen, P. and Repo, T. 2004. Genetic variation in cessation of growth and frost hardiness and consequences for adaptation of Pinus sylvestris to climatic changes. Forest Ecology and Management 197: 79-89.