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Adaptive forest management in central Europe: Climate change impacts, strategies and integrative concept

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Climatic warming may lead to increased or decreased future forest productivity. However, more frequent heat waves, droughts and storms and accompanying pathogen attacks are also expected for Europe and are considered to be increasingly important abiotic and biotic stress factors for forests. Adaptive forestry can help forest ecosystems to adapt to these new conditions in order to achieve management goals, maintain desired forest ecosystem services and reduce the risks of forest degradation. With a focus on central Europe, this paper presents the following management strategies: (1) conservation of forest structures, (2) active adaptation, and (3) passive adaptation. The feasibility and criteria for application of the different strategies are discussed. Forest adaptation may entail the establishment of “neonative” forests, including the use and intermixing of native and non-native tree species as well as non-local tree provenances that may adapt better to future climate conditions. An integrative adaptive management concept is proposed that combines (1) species suitability tests and modelling activities at the international scale, (2) priority mapping of adaptation strategies at the national to regional scale, and (3) implementation at the local scale. To achieve this, an international experimental trial system is required to test suitable adaptive measures throughout Europe and worldwide.
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Keywords: Biotic agent; drought; management strategy; provenance; restoration; storm; trial system

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones, Faculty of Forestry and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-University Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany 2: Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish Agricultural University (SLU), Alnarp, Sweden 3: Department of Applied Ecology, Forest & Landscape Denmark, Vejle, Denmark 4: European Forest Institute (EFI), Joensuu, Finland 5: Department of Forest and Environment, University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, Eberswalde, Germany 6: Institute of Forest Ecology and Forest Inventory, Johann Heinrich v. Thunen-Institut (vTI), Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Eberswalde, Germany

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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