Study: Climate change greatly escalates forest disturbance risks to US property values


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.

(Co-authors: William R L Anderegg, Timothy Collins, Sara Grineski, Sarah Nicholls, and Christoph Nolte)

Read the study:

IOP Publishing, Environ. Res. Lett. 18 (2023) 094011, 17, August, 2023.


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