Aim: Forest regeneration data provide an early signal of the persistence and migration of tree species, so we investigated whether species shifts due to climate change exhibit a common signal of response or whether changes vary by species.

Location: California Floristic Province, United States; mediterranean biome.

Methods: We related Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data from 2000−07 for 13 tree species to high-resolution climate and geographical data. Using methods from invasion ecology, we derived indices of species-specific regeneration overlap and central tendency change (range-wide global indicators) based on kernel density estimation of presence and absence of regeneration. We then built regeneration surfaces to identify areas of occurrence of high regeneration (regeneration
hotspots, local indicators) in both geographical and climate space for 13 common tree species.

Results: Differences between presence and absence of regeneration in forests varied in magnitude across species, with little evidence that tree regeneration is shifting to higher latitudes and elevations, the expected geographical fingerprint of climate change. We also identified potential topographic mediators of regeneration dynamics. Multiple regeneration hotspots were found for many species, suggesting the influence of non-climatic factors on regeneration. Differences between the presence and absence of regeneration in geographic and climate spaces were not always congruent, suggesting that shifting climate space and range area are not entirely coupled.

Main conclusions: The distributions of regeneration in Californian forests show diverse signals, not always tracking the higher latitudinal–elevation fingerprint of climate change. Local regeneration hotspots are common in our analysis, suggesting spatially varying persistence of forest linked to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Our results emphasize that projections of tree range shifts in the context of climate change should consider the variation of regeneration drivers

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