Climate change and European forests

A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Management carried out by researchers at the European Forest Institute and their partners in the FP7 funded MOTIVE project (Models for Adaptive Forest Management) examines these issues and discusses how forest managers and decision makers can cope with climate uncertainties. The authors review general trends in climate, with particular emphasis on biologically meaningful parameters such as continuous dry days and changes in climate extremes and forest disturbance patterns. They also compare observed changes with those predicted by climate change studies and examine the reasons for discrepancies where they exist. The sources of uncertainty along a ‘cascade of uncertainty’ are also discussed.

Marcus Lindner, the lead author of the study, points out that forest decision makers are no strangers to evaluating alternatives in the long term and making decisions for decades in advance. Climate change adds another dimension to this decision making, and the uncertainties can be difficult to cope with, however, with the best science based information these decisions can be assisted. The study recommends that forest managers look for strategies that enhance forest ecosystem resilience and increase flexibility to make future management changes as required by realized climate change trends.

The article “Climate change and European forests: What do we know, what are the uncertainties, and what are the implications for forest management?” by Marcus Lindner, Joanne B. Fitzgerald, Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Christopher Reyer, Sylvain Delzon, Ernst van der Maaten, Mart-Jan Schelhaas, Petra Lasch, Jeannette Eggers, Marieke van der Maaten-Theunissen, Felicitas Suckow, Achilleas Psomas, Benjamin Poulter, and Marc Hanewinkel has been published in Journal of Environmental Management.

For information on MOTIVE - Models for Adaptive Forest Management, please visit the project website.

Further information: Marcus Lindner or Joanne Fitzgerald, firstname.lastname@efi.int

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