What evidence exists on the effects of competition on trees’ responses to climate change? A systematic map protocol
Projections of climate change impacts upon forests are likely inaccurate if based on the premise that only climate controls tree growth. Species interactions control growth, but most research has ignored these effects on how trees respond to climate change. Climate change is inducing natural species selection. However, this selection does not occur at the community level. Species selection starts with competition amongst individual trees. Competition is an individual-to-individual antagonistic interaction that, if severe, can constrain the presence of trees within a particular environment. Thus, climate change impacts individual tree selection within forests. Projecting climate change impacts on forests should account for the effects of climate on tree growth and the effects of competition. The inclusion of competition can increase the predictive power of simulations.
We propose a protocol to systematically map the available literature on climate change impacts on forests and produce a comprehensive list of methods applied to measure competition and model the competition effects on tree growth responses to climate change. This systematic map is not limited to any country or continent or specific tree species or forest type. The scope of the search focuses on time (when the evidence was published), location (geographic location of the evidence) and research design (competition indices and modelling methods). We will evaluate articles at three levels: title, abstract and full text. We will conduct a full-text assessment on all articles that pass a screening at the title and abstract stages. We will report the extracted evidence in a narrative synthesis to summarize the evidence’s trends and report knowledge gaps.
Forestry, Global warming, Tree species interactions, Tree growth