Climate change impacts and adaptation in forest management: a reviewReport as inadecuate

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Abstract : Key message Adaptation of forest management to climate change requires an understanding of the effects of climate on forests, industries and communities; prediction of how these effects might change over time; and incorporation of this knowledge into management decisions. This requires multiple forms of knowledge and new approaches to forest management decisions. Partnerships that integrate researchers from multiple disciplines with forest managers and local actors can build a shared understanding of future challenges and facilitate improved decision making in the face of climate change.ContextClimate change presents significant potential risks to forests and challenges for forest managers. Adaptation to climate change involves monitoring and anticipating change and undertaking actions to avoid the negative consequences and to take advantage of potential benefits of those changes.AimsThis paper aimed to review recent research on climate change impacts and management options for adaptation to climate change and to identify key themes for researchers and for forest managers.MethodsThe study is based on a review of literature on climate change impacts on forests and adaptation options for forest management identified in the Web of Science database, focusing on papers and reports published between 1945 and 2013.ResultsOne thousand one hundred seventy-two papers were identified in the search, with the vast majority of papers published from 1986 to 2013. Seventy-six percent of papers involved assessment of climate change impacts or the sensitivity or vulnerability of forests to climate change and 11 % 130 considered adaptation. Important themes from the analysis included i predicting species and ecosystem responses to future climate, ii adaptation actions in forest management, iii new approaches and tools for decision making under uncertainty and stronger partnerships between researchers and practitioners and iv policy arrangements for adaptation in forest management.ConclusionsResearch to support adaptation to climate change is still heavily focused on assessing impacts and vulnerability. However, more refined impact assessments are not necessarily leading to better management decisions. Multi-disciplinary research approaches are emerging that integrate traditional forest ecosystem sciences with social, economic and behavioural sciences to improve decision making. Implementing adaptation options is best achieved by building a shared understanding of future challenges among different institutions, agencies, forest owners and stakeholders. Research-policy-practice partnerships that recognise local management needs and indigenous knowledge and integrate these with climate and ecosystem science can facilitate improved decision making.

Keywords : Climate change Adaptation Vulnerability Policy Forest management Impacts Effects Responses

Author: Rodney J. Keenan -



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