Forest management adapts to climate change

An EU-funded initiative has translated scientific knowledge regarding expected climate change impacts into a decision support system for forest practitioners and policymakers.

Europe's forests are under pressure due to intensive competition for forest resources in the face of climate and land-use changes. An EU-funded project addressed this challenge by investigating a wide range of European forest types under different forest management regimes. The aim was to develop strategies that could allow forest management practices to balance multiple objectives under changing environmental conditions.

The 'Models for adaptive forest management' (MOTIVE) project created tools to support decision making in adaptive forest management. A key feature was the use of stakeholder panels for each case study region to ensure the robustness and reliance of the tools in a range of different contexts.

Questionnaires and/or interviews were used to garner stakeholder views on management options based on case studies in the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The case studies reflected the diversity in European forests as well as their different functions and the main threats that they face. Case studies have also been carried out in Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, Bulgaria, Romania and UK (Wales). In addition, there was a survey of stakeholders in Germany, Sweden and Portugal.

Project partners also used a range of computer models and new cutting-edge algorithms to study different types of European forest and adaptation strategies. Major trends at both the regional and European level were studied, including important climate parameters, growth productivity and political developments. In addition, a tree species distribution model was used to show that climate change may have severe economic impacts.

Researchers used project results to develop a decision support toolbox that reflects new forestry techniques, which can be adapted to a changing climate. The adaptive forestry management toolbox provides the latest techniques to forest resource managers and policymakers for use in strategic and tactical planning.

MOTIVE provided new insights, data and tools to combat the effect of a changing climate, based on the involvement of local and regional stakeholders and decision makers. The work result was improved assessment tools for decision making in the real world.

last modification: 2015-06-22

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