EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Climate succession: a framework for predicting vegetation dynamics driven by climate change

Belinda Medlyn, Laura Williams, Juergen Knauer, Assaf Inbar, Clare Stephens, Rachael Gallagher, Rachael Nolan, Brendan Choat, Matthias Boer, and Ben Smith
Belinda Medlyn et al.
  • Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Penrith, Australia (

Climate change, driven by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, is well under way, and we are already starting to see significant shifts in the function and distribution of vegetation as a result. Dynamic vegetation models, the main platform used to predict the likely magnitude, rate and nature of these shifts, were originally rooted in theories of successional dynamics following disturbance. A key question for these models is how well they can capture vegetation responses to climatic change, which includes both press and pulse disturbances. Here we develop a general framework for representing climate-driven successional dynamics in vegetation models. The framework is illustrated with a series of case studies from Australia of vegetation responses to the major global change drivers of rising CO2, warming, drought and fire. The Australian environment, intrinsically characterized by high climate variability, has experienced increasingly challenging climate extremes in recent years and thus provides an excellent testbed for predictive models.

How to cite: Medlyn, B., Williams, L., Knauer, J., Inbar, A., Stephens, C., Gallagher, R., Nolan, R., Choat, B., Boer, M., and Smith, B.: Climate succession: a framework for predicting vegetation dynamics driven by climate change, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11134,, 2023.