Species- And elevation-dependent productivity changes in East Asian temperate forests

Moonil Kim, Bo Young Ham, Florian Kraxner, Anatoly Shvidenko, Dmitry Schepaschenko, Andrey Krasovskii, Taejin Park, Woo Kyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The velocity and impact of climate change on forest appear to be site, environment, and tree species-specific. The primary objective of this research is to assess the changes in productivity of five major temperate tree species (Pinus densiflora, PD; Larix kaempferi, LK; Pinus koraiensis, PK; Quercus variabilis, QV; and Quercus mongolica, QM) in South Korea using terrestrial inventory and satellite remote sensing data. The area covered by each tree species was further categorized into either lowland forest (LLF) or high mountain forest (HMF) and investigated. We used the repeated Korean national forest inventory (NFI) data to calculate a stand-level annual increment (SAI). We then compared the SAI, a ground-based productivity measure, to MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) net primary productivity as a measure of productivity based on satellite imagery. In addition, the growth index of each increment core, which eliminated the effect of tree age on radial growth, was derived as an indicator of the variation in primary productivity by tree species over the past four decades. Based on our result from NFI plots and increment core data sets, the productivity of PD, QV, and QM in LLF was relatively higher than those in HMF, while LK and PK in HMF were more productive than lowland ones. Our analysis of the increment core data revealed a contrasting pattern of long-term productivity changes between coniferous and oak tree species. While the productivity of oak tree species tended to increase after the 1990s, the productivity in coniferous forests tended to decrease. These differences across forest types and their altitudinal classes are also noticeable from the MODIS product. The results of our study can be used to develop climate-smart forest management strategies to ensure that the forests continue to be resilient and continue to provide a wide range of ecosystem services in the Eastern Asian region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034012
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the International Research & Development Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (Grant number: 2018K1A3A7A03089842) and partially supported by the European Commission under contract H2020-776019. This work was also supported under the framework of international cooperation program managed by the NRFa (Project No. 2019K2A9A1A02094860). TP acknowledges support from NASA's Carbon Monitoring System program (80NSSC18K0173-CMS). The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers who provided useful feed-back to improve the quality of the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • increment core
  • lowland forests
  • mountain forests
  • national forest inventory
  • net primary productivity
  • stand-level annual increment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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