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Adaptation options to reduce climate change vulnerability of sustainable forest management in the Austrian Alps

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Abstract:

Sustaining forest ecosystem functions and services under climate change is a major challenge for forest management. While conceptual advances of adapting coupled social–ecological systems to environmental changes have been made recently, good practice examples at the operational level still remain rare. The current study presents the development of adaptation options for 164 550 ha of commercial forests under the stewardship of the Austrian Federal Forests (AFF). We used a comprehensive vulnerability assessment as analysis framework, employing ecosystem modeling and multicriteria decision analysis in a participatory approach with forest planers of the AFF. An assessment of the vulnerability of multiple ecosystem goods and services under current management served as the starting point for the development of adaptation options. Measures found to successfully reduce vulnerability include the promotion of mixed stands of species well adapted to emerging environmental conditions, silvicultural techniques fostering complexity, and increased management intensity. Assessment results for a wide range of site and stand conditions, stand treatment programs, and future climate scenarios were used to condense robust recommendations for adapting the management guidelines currently used by AFF practitioners. Overall, our results highlight the importance of timely adaptation to sustain forest goods and services and document the respective potential of silvicultural measures.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x10-235

Affiliations: Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna, Peter Jordan Straße 82, 1190 Wien, Austria

Publication date: April 8, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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