Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Climatic disequilibrium threatens conservation priority forests

Huntley, B.; Allen, J.R.M.; Bennie, J.; Collingham, Y.C.; Miller, P.A.; Suggitt, A.J.

Climatic disequilibrium threatens conservation priority forests Thumbnail


B. Huntley

J.R.M. Allen

J. Bennie

Y.C. Collingham

P.A. Miller

A.J. Suggitt


We test the hypothesis that climatic changes since 1800 have resulted in unrealised potential vegetation changes that represent a ‘climatic debt’ for many ecosystems. Caledonian pinewoods, an EU priority forest type, are used as a model system to explore potential impacts of two centuries of climatic change upon sites of conservation importance and surrounding landscapes. Using methods that estimate topographic microclimate, current and pre-industrial climates were estimated for 50 m grid cells and simulations made using a dynamic vegetation model. Core Caledonian pinewood areas are now less suitable for growth of pine and more favourable for oak than in 1800, whereas landscapes as a whole are on average more favourable for both. The most favourable areas for pine are now mainly outside areas designated to conserve historical pinewoods. A paradigm shift is needed in formulating conservation strategies to avoid catastrophic losses of this habitat, and of many others globally with trees or other long-lived perennials as keystone species.


Huntley, B., Allen, J., Bennie, J., Collingham, Y., Miller, P., & Suggitt, A. (2018). Climatic disequilibrium threatens conservation priority forests. Conservation Letters, 11(1), Article e12349.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 21, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2017
Publication Date Feb 10, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 30, 2017
Journal Conservation Letters
Publisher Society for Conservation Biology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Article Number e12349


Accepted Journal Article (11.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations