Chiloé Island, Chile

Increased Drought Impacts on Temperate Rainforests from Southern South America

Increased droughts due to regional shifts in temperature and rainfall regimes are likely to affect forests in temperate regions in the coming decades. To assess their consequences for forest dynamics, we need predictive tools that couple hydrologic processes, soil moisture dynamics and plant productivity.

Here, we developed and tested a dynamic forest model that predicts the hydrologic balance of North Patagonian rainforests on Chiloé Island, in temperate South America (42°S). The model incorporates the dynamic linkages between changing rainfall regimes, soil moisture and individual tree growth. Declining rainfall, as predicted for the study area, should mean up to 50% less summer rain by year 2100.

Geographical distribution of the study site.



Alvaro G. Gutiérrez, Juan J. Armesto, M. Francisca Díaz, Andreas Huth