Forest adaptation to climate change—is non-management an option?

Climate change is posing a considerable challenge to foresters. The intensity of required adaptive measures and the relevance of old-growth forests as benchmark for managed forests are debated. Forest managers need to make decisions on stand treatment that are based on climatological and biological parameters with high uncertainties. We provided the conceptual basis for adaptive forest management and provide a number of case studies that reflect the options and limitations of ways of coping with climate change. The examples are derived from the experience of the authors. We conclude that only few forest types are either not strongly affected by climate change or do not require immediate adaptations of forest management. Many productive forests have stand properties that are decisively shaped by past management decisions, such as tree species composition, age distribution, rotation period, and stand structure. Maintaining these properties under the influence of climate change requires continuous and even increasing efforts of forest managers.

Adaptive forest management, Old-growth forest, Managed forest

Open-access Publication
Jandl, R., Spathelf, P., Bolte, A. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2019) 76: 48.

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