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Climate change greatly escalates forest disturbance risks to US property values

William R L Anderegg, Timothy Collins, Sara Grineski, Sarah Nicholls Orcid Logo, Christoph Nolte

Environmental Research Letters, Volume: 18, Issue: 9, Start page: 094011

Swansea University Author: Sarah Nicholls Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is projected to drive increases in climate extremes and climate-sensitive ecosystem disturbances such as wildfire with enormous economic impacts. Understanding spatial and temporal patterns of risk to property values from climate-sensitive disturbances at national and re...

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Published in: Environmental Research Letters
ISSN: 1748-9326
Published: IOP Publishing 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64021
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Abstract: Anthropogenic climate change is projected to drive increases in climate extremes and climate-sensitive ecosystem disturbances such as wildfire with enormous economic impacts. Understanding spatial and temporal patterns of risk to property values from climate-sensitive disturbances at national and regional scales and from multiple disturbances is urgently needed to inform risk management and policy efforts. Here, we combine models for three major climate-sensitive disturbances (i.e., wildfire, climate stress-driven tree mortality, and insect-driven tree mortality), future climate projections of these disturbances, and high-resolution property values data to quantify the spatiotemporal exposure of property values to disturbance across the contiguous United States (US). We find that property values exposed to these climate-sensitive disturbances increase sharply in future climate scenarios, particularly in existing high-risk regions of the western US, and that novel exposure risks emerge in some currently lower-risk regions such as the southeast and Great Lakes regions. Climate policy that drives emissions towards low-to-moderate climate futures avoids large increases in disturbance risk exposure compared to high emissions scenarios. Our results provide an important large-scale assessment of climate-sensitive disturbance risk to property values to help inform land management and climate adaptation efforts.
Keywords: Climate change, wildfire, tree mortality, economic impacts, climate policy
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: WRLA acknowledges support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, US National Science Foundation Grants 1802880, 2003017, 2044937, and IOS-2325700.
Issue: 9
Start Page: 094011