Managing Alpine Forests in a Changing Climate. Brang, P.; Breznikar, A.; Hanewinkel, M.; Jandl, R.; and Maier, B. In Management Strategies to Adapt Alpine Space Forests to Climate Change Risks, pages 369–383. InTech.
Managing Alpine Forests in a Changing Climate [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Excerpt: Introduction] There is mounting evidence that Alpine forest ecosystems will not be able to fully absorb the changes in site factors associated with climate change, such as higher temperatures, more intensive drought stress and associated biotic impacts since these changes exceed the adaptive capacity of the trees. The projected changes in temperature by 2.2 to 5.1 K from 1980 to 1999 to 2080 to 2099, for the A1B scenario in southern Europe [1], correspond to an altitudinal shift of 300 to 700 m in a mountain landscape, if a lapse rate of 0.6 to 0.8 K per 100 m is assumed. Such altitudinal shifts are very often associated with a profound change in tree species composition. This climatic change is projected to occur within about 100 years and thus faster than the average lifetime of a tree in Alpine regions. Widespread tree mortality such as in many forests worldwide [2] is not an unrealistic scenario, and first signs of such phenomena were found in dry inner Alpine valleys [3]. [] Climatic change is also likely to profoundly alter biotic interactions between trees and pathogens, mostly in favor of the latter [4,5]. An example for negative impacts of climate change on forests is the devastative outbreak of mountain pine beetles in parts of Canada [4]. Large-scale tree mortality has affected the regional forest sector, but has also, at a global scale, influenced the political position of Canada towards climate change treaties. The forest sector, which for long had been a substantial C sink, turned into a large C source. The implications for the national greenhouse gas balance of Canada were such that Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord. In contrast to such negative effects of climate change on the forests' role as a C sink, there is increasing evidence for positive effects of higher temperatures on tree growth in cool environments [6] with abundant water supply and reasonable soil fertility. [] Healthy forests are important for the timber industry and provide jobs in rural areas. Moreover, they are delivering numerous ecosystem services such as protection against natural hazards, carbon sequestration, drinking water, and habitat for a rich biodiversity of plants and animals. Managing Alpine space forests for these ecosystem goods and services in the face of a changing climate poses a number of novel challenges, which all increase the uncertainty in management. For instance, there is no recent guiding example for such rapid environmental change in forest ecosystems. The projected future site conditions are often not present in current landscapes, which means that analogies of potential future states are missing. Moreover, elevated rates of nitrogen deposition cause unprecedented trophic conditions at many sites [7]. The consequences of these remarkable changes which occur simultaneously and often interact are difficult to predict. The real adaptive capacity of the forest ecosystems, and in particular of the current generation of adult trees and of their offspring, are unclear. While ongoing research, e.g. in genetics of forest trees [8,9], is likely to reduce these uncertainties, forest practitioners will still need to make management decisions on the basis of incomplete knowledge and limited guidance. [] In this uncertain situation, a 'change management' is needed which aims at ensuring that Alpine space forests continue to provide their goods and services, without major interruptions. Identifying and applying silvicultural strategies which can achieve this is the challenge for forest scientists and managers. Since the uncertainties are large, any management scheme should not be deterministic, but prepared for continuous readjustment, flexible and adaptive: designed to be adaptable to changes in the environmental factors, in the forest itself and also in changes in the anticipated further change. [] The term 'adaptive management' (AM) [10-12] describes such a flexible management approach. AM should ensure continuous improvements through iterative cycles of planning, managing, monitoring, and revised planning. In contrast to traditional forest management, AM starts from the assumption that current knowledge about ecosystem functioning is limited and the future even more uncertain, and that current management approaches therefore need continuous revision. A critical element of AM is extensive stakeholder involvement. In many regions of the Alpine space this aspect still needs to be improved. [] In this chapter, we want first to present current management approaches in Alpine forests. Second, we will outline adaptation measures which have been discussed, and are partly already being implemented. Third, we will examine how current management should be complemented with ideas from AM to enhance the adaptive capacity of Alpine space forests in the face of a changing climate. [] [...] [Conclusions] Climate change poses a novel challenge for forest science and management. AM as defined in this chapter seems particularly suitable to deal with the large uncertainty involved. Forest managers should increasingly see themselves as part of a learning community and perceive the establishment, maintenance and documentation of silvicultural field tests as part of their core business. Capacity building will also help to overcome simplistic management rules, and the resulting awareness for climate change issues is a precondition for acceptance of increased monitoring efforts, which will be needed for early detection of climate change impacts, including new pests and diseases. In particular regarding these transnational issues, cross-border networking is necessary. [] In any adaptation strategy, it is also important to correctly weigh different problems. For instance, ungulate browsing [47,48] may completely prevent putting increased tree species richness into practice. [] The adaptation measures recommended in this chapter must be regarded as preliminary. The uncertainty about climate development and associated reactions of the forest is large, in particular with regard to disturbances and biological invasions. This calls for robust strategies which are likely to ensure the delivery of ecosystem products and services for different outcomes, preparedness for surprise, and a flexible and adjustable management approach. [] [...]
@incollection{brangManagingAlpineForests2013,
  title = {Managing Alpine Forests in a Changing Climate},
  booktitle = {Management {{Strategies}} to {{Adapt Alpine Space Forests}} to {{Climate Change Risks}}},
  author = {Brang, Peter and Breznikar, Andrej and Hanewinkel, Marc and Jandl, Robert and Maier, Bernhard},
  editor = {Cerbu, Gillian},
  date = {2013-08},
  pages = {369--383},
  publisher = {{InTech}},
  doi = {10.5772/56272},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.5772/56272},
  abstract = {[Excerpt: Introduction]

There is mounting evidence that Alpine forest ecosystems will not be able to fully absorb the changes in site factors associated with climate change, such as higher temperatures, more intensive drought stress and associated biotic impacts since these changes exceed the adaptive capacity of the trees. The projected changes in temperature by 2.2 to 5.1 K from 1980 to 1999 to 2080 to 2099, for the A1B scenario in southern Europe [1], correspond to an altitudinal shift of 300 to 700 m in a mountain landscape, if a lapse rate of 0.6 to 0.8 K per 100 m is assumed. Such altitudinal shifts are very often associated with a profound change in tree species composition. This climatic change is projected to occur within about 100 years and thus faster than the average lifetime of a tree in Alpine regions. Widespread tree mortality such as in many forests worldwide [2] is not an unrealistic scenario, and first signs of such phenomena were found in dry inner Alpine valleys [3].

[] Climatic change is also likely to profoundly alter biotic interactions between trees and pathogens, mostly in favor of the latter [4,5]. An example for negative impacts of climate change on forests is the devastative outbreak of mountain pine beetles in parts of Canada [4]. Large-scale tree mortality has affected the regional forest sector, but has also, at a global scale, influenced the political position of Canada towards climate change treaties. The forest sector, which for long had been a substantial C sink, turned into a large C source. The implications for the national greenhouse gas balance of Canada were such that Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord. In contrast to such negative effects of climate change on the forests' role as a C sink, there is increasing evidence for positive effects of higher temperatures on tree growth in cool environments [6] with abundant water supply and reasonable soil fertility.

[] Healthy forests are important for the timber industry and provide jobs in rural areas. Moreover, they are delivering numerous ecosystem services such as protection against natural hazards, carbon sequestration, drinking water, and habitat for a rich biodiversity of plants and animals. Managing Alpine space forests for these ecosystem goods and services in the face of a changing climate poses a number of novel challenges, which all increase the uncertainty in management. For instance, there is no recent guiding example for such rapid environmental change in forest ecosystems. The projected future site conditions are often not present in current landscapes, which means that analogies of potential future states are missing. Moreover, elevated rates of nitrogen deposition cause unprecedented trophic conditions at many sites [7]. The consequences of these remarkable changes which occur simultaneously and often interact are difficult to predict. The real adaptive capacity of the forest ecosystems, and in particular of the current generation of adult trees and of their offspring, are unclear. While ongoing research, e.g. in genetics of forest trees [8,9], is likely to reduce these uncertainties, forest practitioners will still need to make management decisions on the basis of incomplete knowledge and limited guidance.

[] In this uncertain situation, a 'change management' is needed which aims at ensuring that Alpine space forests continue to provide their goods and services, without major interruptions. Identifying and applying silvicultural strategies which can achieve this is the challenge for forest scientists and managers. Since the uncertainties are large, any management scheme should not be deterministic, but prepared for continuous readjustment, flexible and adaptive: designed to be adaptable to changes in the environmental factors, in the forest itself and also in changes in the anticipated further change.

[] The term 'adaptive management' (AM) [10-12] describes such a flexible management approach. AM should ensure continuous improvements through iterative cycles of planning, managing, monitoring, and revised planning. In contrast to traditional forest management, AM starts from the assumption that current knowledge about ecosystem functioning is limited and the future even more uncertain, and that current management approaches therefore need continuous revision. A critical element of AM is extensive stakeholder involvement. In many regions of the Alpine space this aspect still needs to be improved.

[] In this chapter, we want first to present current management approaches in Alpine forests. Second, we will outline adaptation measures which have been discussed, and are partly already being implemented. Third, we will examine how current management should be complemented with ideas from AM to enhance the adaptive capacity of Alpine space forests in the face of a changing climate.

[] [...]

[Conclusions]

Climate change poses a novel challenge for forest science and management. AM as defined in this chapter seems particularly suitable to deal with the large uncertainty involved. Forest managers should increasingly see themselves as part of a learning community and perceive the establishment, maintenance and documentation of silvicultural field tests as part of their core business. Capacity building will also help to overcome simplistic management rules, and the resulting awareness for climate change issues is a precondition for acceptance of increased monitoring efforts, which will be needed for early detection of climate change impacts, including new pests and diseases. In particular regarding these transnational issues, cross-border networking is necessary.

[] In any adaptation strategy, it is also important to correctly weigh different problems. For instance, ungulate browsing [47,48] may completely prevent putting increased tree species richness into practice.

[] The adaptation measures recommended in this chapter must be regarded as preliminary. The uncertainty about climate development and associated reactions of the forest is large, in particular with regard to disturbances and biological invasions. This calls for robust strategies which are likely to ensure the delivery of ecosystem products and services for different outcomes, preparedness for surprise, and a flexible and adjustable management approach.

[] [...]},
  isbn = {978-953-51-1194-8},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-14282988,abies-alba,alpine-region,climate-change,disturbances,droughts,featured-publication,forest-management,forest-resources,picea-abies,resilience,silviculture,species-richness,storm,tree-mortality}
}
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