Craig D Allen

Craig D Allen
University of New Mexico | UNM · Department of Geography & Environmental Studies

Ph.D.

About

178
Publications
79,082
Reads
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30,109
Citations
Introduction
Craig conducts research on the ecology and environmental history of Southwestern US landscapes, and is one of the core principal investigators of the USGS Western Mountain Initiative, an integration of research programs that study global change in mountain ecosystems of the western US (see http://westernmountains.org), with extensive international collaborations on global forest conditions and trends. For more info see http://www.fort.usgs.gov/CAllen/
Additional affiliations
May 2016 - present
University of New Mexico
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 1989 - January 2021
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Research Ecologist
Description
  • Research Ecologist, and founding leader of the field station

Publications

Publications (178)
Article
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Patterns, mechanisms, projections, and consequences of tree mortality and associated broad- scale forest die-off due to drought accompanied by warmer temperatures—‘‘hotter drought’’, an emerging characteristic of the Anthropocene—are the focus of rapidly expanding literature. Despite recent observational, experimental, and modeling studies suggesti...
Article
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Drought and heat-induced tree mortality is accelerating in many forest biomes as a consequence of a warming climate, resulting in a threat to global forests unlike any in recorded history. Forests store the majority of terrestrial carbon, thus their loss may have significant and sustained impacts on the global carbon cycle. We use a hydraulic corol...
Article
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The frequency of severe droughts is increasing in many regions around the world as a result of climate change(1-3). Droughts alter the structure and function of forests(4,5). Site- and region-specific studies suggest that large trees, which play keystone roles in forests(6) and can be disproportionately important to ecosystem carbon storage(7) and...
Article
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Ecosystem patterns and disturbance processes at one spatial scale often interact with processes at another scale, and the result of such cross-scale interactions can be nonlinear dynamics with thresholds. Examples of cross-scale pattern-process relationships and interactions among forest dieback, fire, and erosion are illustrated from northern New...
Article
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As the climate changes, drought may reduce tree productivity and survival across many forest ecosystems; however, the relative influence of specific climate parameters on forest decline is poorly understood. We derive a forest drought-stress index (FDSI) for the southwestern United States using a comprehensive tree-ring data set representing AD 100...
Article
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Fire regimes in North American forests are diverse and modern fire records are often too short to capture important patterns, trends, feedbacks, and drivers of variability. Tree‐ring fire scars provide valuable perspectives on fire regimes, including centuries‐long records of fire year, season, frequency, severity, and size. Here, we introduce the...
Article
Recent observations of elevated tree mortality following climate extremes, like heat and drought, raise concerns about climate change risks to global forest health. We currently lack both sufficient data and understanding to identify whether these observations represent a global trend toward increasing tree mortality. Here, we document events of su...
Article
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Earth's forests face grave challenges in the Anthropocene, including hotter droughts increasingly associated with widespread forest die-off events. But despite the vital importance of forests to global ecosystem services, their fates in a warming world remain highly uncertain. Lacking is quantitative determination of commonality in climate anomalie...
Preprint
Climatic extreme events are expected to occur more frequently in the future, increasing the likelihood of unprecedented climate extremes (UCEs), or record-breaking events. UCEs, such as extreme heatwaves and droughts, substantially affect ecosystem stability and carbon cycling by increasing plant mortality and delaying ecosystem recovery. Quantitat...
Article
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Drought-associated woody-plant mortality has been increasing in most regions with multi-decadal records and is projected to increase in the future, impacting terrestrial climate forcing, biodiversity and resource availability. The mechanisms underlying such mortality, however, are debated, owing to complex interactions between the drivers and the p...
Article
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Forest stand structure is not only a crucial factor for regulating forest functioning but also an important indicator for sustainable forest management and ecosystem services. Although there exists a few national/global structure databases for natural forests, a country-wide synthetic structure database for plantation forests over China, the world’...
Article
Drylands cover more than 40% of Earth’s land surface and occur at the margin of forest distributions due to the limited availability of water for tree growth. Recent elevated temperature and low precipitation have driven greater forest declines and pulses of tree mortality on dryland sites compared to humid sites, particularly in temperate Eurasia...
Article
The increasing incidence of wildfires across the southwestern United States (US) is altering the contemporary forest management template within historically frequent-fire conifer forests. An increasing fraction of southwestern conifer forests have recently burned, and many of these burned landscapes contain complex mosaics of surviving forest and s...
Chapter
We outline the multiple, cross-scale, and complex consequences of terrestrial and marine ecosystem heatwaves in two regions on opposite sides of the planet: the southwestern USA and southwestern Australia, both encompassing Global Biodiversity Hotspots, and where ecosystem collapses or features of it have occurred in the past two decades. We highli...
Article
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Context Montane grasslands and forest-grassland ecotones are unique and dynamic components of many landscapes, but the processes that regulate their dynamics are difficult to observe over ecologically relevant time spans. Objectives We aimed to demonstrate the efficacy of using grassland-forest ecotone trees to reconstruct spatial and temporal pro...
Article
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Seasonal non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) dynamics in different organs can indicate the strategies trees use to cope with water stress; however, these dynamics remain poorly understood along a large precipitation gradient. In this study, we hypothesized that the correlation between water availability and NSC concentrations in different organs migh...
Article
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Drought and warming increasingly are causing widespread tree die-offs and extreme wildfires. Forest managers are struggling to improve anticipatory forest management practices given more frequent, extensive, and severe wildfire and tree die-off events triggered by “hotter drought”—drought under warmer than historical conditions. Of even greater con...
Article
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Fire exclusion in historically frequent-fire forests of the southwestern United States has altered forest structure and increased the probability of high-severity fire. Warmer and drier conditions, coupled with dispersal distance limitations, are impeding tree seedling establishment and survival following high-severity fire. High-severity patches a...
Article
Conifer mortality rates are increasing in western North America, but the physiological mechanisms underlying this trend are not well understood. We examined tree‐ring based radial growth along with stable carbon and oxygen isotope composition (d13C and δ18O, respectively) of dying and surviving conifers at eight old‐growth forest sites across a str...
Article
BACKGROUND: Forest dynamics arise from the interplay of chronic drivers and transient disturbances with the demographic processes of recruitment, growth, and mortality. The resulting trajectories of vegetation development drive the biomass and species composition of terrestrial ecosystems. Forest dynamics are changing because of anthropogenic-drive...
Article
Forest dynamics arise from the interplay of environmental drivers and disturbances with the demographic processes of recruitment, growth, and mortality, subsequently driving biomass and species composition. However, forest disturbances and subsequent recovery are shifting with global changes in climate and land use, altering these dynamics. Changes...
Article
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Unraveling the effects of climate and land use on historical fire regimes provides important insights into broader human–fire–climate dynamics, which are necessary for ecologically based forest management. We developed a spatial human land‐use model for Navajo Nation forests across which we sampled a network of tree‐ring fire history sites to refle...
Article
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Before the advent of intensive forest management and fire suppression, western North American forests exhibited a naturally occurring resistance and resilience to wildfires and other disturbances. Resilience, which encompasses resistance, reflects the amount of disruption an ecosystem can withstand before its structure or organization qualitatively...
Article
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Predictions of warmer droughts causing increasing forest mortality are becoming abundant, yet fewer studies have investigated the mechanisms of forest persistence. To examine the resistance of forests to warmer droughts, we used a five-year precipitation reduction (~45% removal), heat (+4°C above ambient) and combined drought and heat experiment in...
Article
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Aim Catastrophic forest mortality due to more extreme rainfall deficits and higher temperatures under future climate scenarios has been predicted. The aim of this study is to explore the magnitude of historical drought‐induced tree mortality under pre‐warming conditions. Location North‐eastern Australia. Time period 1845–2017. Major taxa studied...
Article
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In recent decades, terrestrial vegetation in the northern hemisphere (NH) has been exposed to warming and more extremely high temperatures. However, the consequences of these changes for terrestrial vegetation growth remain poorly quantified and understood. By examining a satellite−based vegetation index, tree ring measurements, and land surface mo...
Article
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Tree mortality events driven by drought and warmer temperature, often amplified by pests and pathogens, are emerging as one of the predominant climate change impacts on plants. Understanding and predicting widespread tree mortality events in the future is vital as they affect ecosystem goods and services provided by forests and woodlands, including...
Technical Report
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For millennia, wildfires have markedly influenced forests and non-forested landscapes of the western United States (US), and they are increasingly seen as having substantial impacts on society and nature. There is growing concern over what kinds and amounts of fire will achieve desirable outcomes and limit harmful effects on people and nature. More...
Article
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Extensive high-severity fires are creating large shrubfields in many dry conifer forests of the interior western USA, raising concerns about forest-to-shrub conversion. This study evaluates the role of disturbance in shrubfield formation, maintenance and succession in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. We compared the environmental conditions of exta...
Article
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Accumulating evidence highlights increased mortality risks for trees during severe drought, particularly under warmer temperatures and increasing vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Resulting forest die-off events have severe consequences for ecosystem services, biophysical and biogeochemical land–atmosphere processes. Despite advances in monitoring, mo...
Article
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Tree mortality rates appear to be increasing in moist tropical forests (MTFs) with significant carbon cycle consequences. Here, we review the state of knowledge regarding MTF tree mortality, create a conceptual framework with testable hypotheses regarding the drivers, mechanisms and interactions that may underlie increasing MTF mortality rates, and...
Article
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High-severity fires in dry conifer forests of the United States Southwest have created large (>1000 ha) treeless areas that are unprecedented in the regional historical record. These fires have reset extensive portions of Southwestern ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson var. scopulorum Engelm.) forest landscapes. At least two recover...
Article
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Widespread tree mortality associated with drought has been observed on all forested continents and global change is expected to exacerbate vegetation vulnerability. Forest mortality has implications for future biosphere-atmosphere interactions of carbon, water and energy balance, and is poorly represented in dynamic vegetation models. Reducing unce...
Article
Drought events are increasing globally, and reports of consequent forest mortality are widespread. However, due to a lack of a quantitative global synthesis, it is still not clear whether drought-induced mortality rates differ among global biomes and whether functional traits influence the risk of drought-induced mortality. To address these uncerta...
Article
Ongoing climate change poses significant threats to plant function and distribution. Increased temperatures and altered precipitation regimes amplify drought frequency and intensity, elevating plant stress and mortality. Large-scale forest mortality events will have far-reaching impacts on carbon and hydrological cycling, biodiversity, and ecosyste...
Article
Full-text available
Widespread tree mortality associated with drought has been observed on all forested continents and global change is expected to exacerbate vegetation vulnerability. Forest mortality has implications for future biosphere–atmosphere interactions of carbon, water and energy balance, and is poorly represented in dynamic vegetation models. Reducing unce...
Article
Ecological memory is central to how ecosystems respond to disturbance and is maintained by two types of legacies – information and material. Species life-history traits represent an adaptive response to disturbance and are an information legacy; in contrast, the abiotic and biotic structures (such as seeds or nutrients) produced by single disturban...
Article
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Interannual climate variations have been important drivers of wildfire occurrence in ponderosa pine forests across western North America for at least 400 years, but at finer scales of mountain ranges and landscapes human land uses sometimes over-rode climate influences. We reconstruct and analyse effects of high human population densities in forest...
Article
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We synthesize insights from current understanding of drought impacts at stand-to-biogeographic scales, including management options, and we identify challenges to be addressed with new research. Large stand-level shifts underway in western forests already are showing the importance of interactions involving drought, insects, and fire. Diebacks, cha...
Article
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Global temperature rise and extremes accompanying drought threaten forests1,2 and their associated climatic feedbacks3,4. Our ability to accurately simulate drought-induced forest impacts remains highly uncertain5,6 in part owing to our failure to integrate physiological measurements, regionalscale models, and dynamic global vegetation models(DGVMs...
Article
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Climate change is expected to drive increased tree mortality through drought, heat stress, and insect attacks, with manifold impacts on forest ecosystems. Yet, climate-induced tree mortality and biotic disturbance agents are largely absent from process-based ecosystem models. Using data sets from the western USA and associated studies, we present a...
Article
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Terrestrial disturbances may be accelerating globally, but their impacts go un-quantified due to the lack of a comprehensive monitoring system. Remote sensing offers enormous potential for global disturbance observation. Here we review the state of remote sensing in disturbance ecology, and develop a framework for a global disturbance monitoring sy...
Article
I. II. III. IV. V. VI. References SUMMARY: Recently, widespread piñon pine die-off occurred in the southwestern United States. Here we synthesize observational studies of this event and compare findings to expected relationships with biotic and abiotic factors. Agreement exists on the occurrence of drought, presence of bark beetles and increased mo...
Conference Paper
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Background/Question/Methods Forests provide significant ecosystem services, and disturbances are important influences of forest composition, structure, and function. Our objective was to increase the understanding of natural disturbances in the western United States in recent decades by quantifying the spatial and temporal patterns of these natur...
Conference Paper
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Background/Question/Methods Climate warming is increasingly linked to substantial and historically novel changes in forest disturbance regimes, driving a range of forest ecosystem responses from incremental small adjustments to abrupt fundamental changes in ecosystem patterns and processes. This synthesis addresses the interactive climate and dist...
Article
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Climate-induced tree mortality is an increasing concern for forest managers around the world. We used a coupled hydrologic and ecosystem carbon cycling model to assess temperature and precipitation impacts on productivity and survival of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Model predictions were evaluated using observations of productivity and surviv...
Article
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Forests are major components of the carbon cycle, and disturbances are important influences of forest carbon. Our objective was to contribute to the understanding of forest carbon cycling by quantifying the amount of carbon in trees killed by two disturbance types, fires and bark beetles, in the western United States in recent decades. We combined...
Conference Paper
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Background/Question/Methods Extensive high-severity wildfires and drought-induced tree mortality have intensified over the last 2 decades in southwestern US forests and woodlands, on a scale unseen regionally since at least pre-1900. Abundant and diverse paleo-ecological and historical sources indicate substantial variability in Southwest fire re...
Article
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Widespread threats to forests due to drought prompt re-thinking priorities for water management on forest lands. In contrast to the widely held view that forest management should emphasize providing water for downstream uses, we argue that maintaining forest health in the face of environmental change may require conserving water on forest lands spe...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Drought and insects such as bark beetles frequently interact to produce widespread tree mortality in forest ecosystems. However, our ability to project future forest dynamics is strongly limited because the processes and thresholds leading to tree death are poorly constrained. Tree allocation to defense may be a key el...
Article
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Under a changing climate, devising strategies to help stakeholders adapt to alterations to ecosystems and their services is of utmost importance. In western North America, diminished snowpack and river flows are causing relatively gradual, homogeneous (system-wide) changes in ecosystems and services. In addition, increased climate variability is al...