GIS application of the degree of vulnerability of cork oaks to climate change

Degree of ecological suitability

A future projection of the potential evapotranspiration (ETP) has been used to evaluate the impact of the hydric restriction due to climate change. First, the threshold value of ETP during the period 1985-2015 that delimits the zones of high site index has been evaluated. Later, the average value of ETP for the period 2020-2050 has been obtained with the climate projection according to a standardised regional model.

Consequently, the following map shows the zones of cork oak grooves in Catalonia where a value of ETP greater than the threshold equivalent to the zones of high site index is foreseen, as low-adapted zones due to hydric restriction.

Vulnerability to Large Forest Fires

To evaluate the vulnerability to LFF we use two factors: the risk of type fire and the structural vulnerability, which can be visualized as independent layers in the following map.

The risk of type fire, presented in three categories, fits with the information of ORGEST Map of type risk for cork oak grooves, which uses the information of fire regime from historical fires, without taking into account the current conditions of the forest structure. The risk of type fire is the most relevant information to evaluate the vulnerability to LFF.

The information with regard to the vulnerability of the forest structure has spatial and temporary changes on a small scale that impede the evaluation in a regional level. The following present a first indicative approximation of the structural vulnerability from the information of the SFI3, using the ORGEST system of classification CVFoC, and generalised for cork oak grooves.

Risk of affectation by Coraebus undatus

The degree of vulnerability to affectations of C.undatus has been evaluated using ecological variables and data of captures from 2012 to 2017. So, a generalised linear mixed model has been generated to predict spatially the captures of C.undatus using the accumulated pluviometry two years before. The following map presents the cork oak grooves classified in more and less vulnerable according to the level of captures foreseen for 2018 from the accumulated pluviometry between July 2015 and June 2016.