Multi-scale modeling of relationships between forest health and climatic factors.
Forest health and mortality trends are impacted by changes in climate. These trends can vary by species, plot location, forest type, and/or ecoregion. To assess the variation among these groups, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data were obtained for 10 states in the southeastern United States and combined with downscaled climate data from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. A variable was created for analysis at the intersection of ecoregions, climate divisions, and forest type. Spatial autoregressive (SAR) modeling was employed to determine if mortality patterns over two inventory cycles were clustered and differed with climate variables. Models were developed showing the relationship between mortality and a series of climate indicators. This information could prove useful to forest managers if projected climate changes are verified.