Impacts of natural disturbances on the development of European forest resources: application of model approaches from tree and stand levels to large-scale scenarios

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, other


Natural disturbances can significantly affect the sustainable production of forest services. Until now there has been no concise overview of the damage such disturbances have caused to European forests, and their role in projection models has often been ignored. This dissertation aims to contribute in filling those gaps. A literature review in Paper I revealed that from 1950 to 2000 the annual average timber volume damaged by disturbances was 35 million m3: 53% by storms, 16% by fire, 8% by bark beetles and 8% by other biotic factors. A natural disturbance module was added to a large-scale scenario model, which was then applied to Switzerland and Austria. To study how silvicultural regimes affect the wind damage risk, a wind damage module was added to an individual-based forest simulator. The explicit inclusion of shelter and support from neighbouring trees enabled both individual tree and whole stand stability to be simulated in detail. It is concluded that the inclusion of disturbances in projection models of different scales offers great possibilities for exploring alternative scenarios and associated risks, for example for adapting to expected future climate change.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • Pukkala, T., Promotor, External person
  • Nabuurs, Gert-Jan, Promotor
Award date28 Mar 2008
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789516512009
Publication statusPublished - 2008



  • forest damage
  • wind damage
  • forest pests
  • ips typographus
  • forests
  • climatic change
  • europe
  • simulation models
  • disturbance

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