Alternative forest management strategies to account for climate change-induced productivity and species suitability changes in Europe

M.J. Schelhaas, G.J. Nabuurs, G.M. Hengeveld, C. Reyer, M. Hanewinkel, N.E. Zimmermann, D. Cullmann

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We present for the first time a study on alternative forest management at the European scale to account for climate change impacts. We combine insights into detailed studies at high resolution with the actual status of the forest and a realistic estimate of the current management practices at large scale. Results show that the European forest system is very inert and that it takes a long time to influence the species distribution by replacing species after final felling. By 2070, on average about 36 % of the area expected to have decreased species suitability will have changed species following business as usual management. Alternative management, consisting of shorter rotations for those species and species planting based on expected trends, will have increased this species transition to 40 %. The simulated forward-looking alternative management leads to some reduction in increment, but does not influence the amount of wood removed from the forest. Northern Europe is projected to show the highest production increases under climate change and can also adapt faster to the new (proposed) species distribution. Southwest Europe is expected to face the greatest challenge by a combination of a predicted loss of production and a slow rate of management alteration under climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1594
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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