Silvicultural Strategies, Sustainability, and Adaptation to Climate Change in Forests of the Atlantic Region of Europe(<Special Issue>Multipurpose Forest Management) Silvicultural Strategies, Sustainability, and Adaptation to Climate Change in Forests of the Atlantic Region of Europe(<Special Issue>Multipurpose Forest Management)

Access this Article

Search this Article

Author(s)

Abstract

Many forests of the Atlantic region of western Europe are plantations created in the last century after a long history of deforestation. These forests have high growth rates by European standards and support competitive wood using industries. However, in some countries of the region (Scotland, Wales) there is increasing pressure to diversify the forests to meet the requirements of multifunctional forestry, while in other areas (the Landes region of south-west France) recent severe storm damage raises the need to increase the resilience of plantations to future climate change. A range of silvicultural systems can be used to diversify plantation forests, but these will have different impacts on indicators of sustainability. The framework of Forest Management Alternatives (FMAs) developed in the EU Eforwood project spans the range of possible stand manipulation from no intervention in a long-term reserve to complete above-ground biomass removal in short rotation forestry. Using the example of a Sitka spruce stand in Scotland, we present the values of a range of economic, environmental, and social indicators associated with each FMA. Traditional plantation management practices based on planting a single species and patch clear felling are more attractive in economic terms than for ecosystem services. A favoured alternative of combined objective forestry using a range of species and smaller clearfelled areas is not as attractive in economic terms and produces only small gains in ecosystem services. A close-to-nature option produces greater recreational and biodiversity benefits, while being only marginally less economically viable than clearfelling, because the use of natural regeneration saves on restocking costs. Current policies and guidelines for adapting forests to climate change propose greater use of less intensive FMAs at the expense of traditional plantation management and we illustrate possible impacts of such scenarios on selected sustainability indicators. Future development of this framework will need to link growth models with predictions of stand vulnerability to abiotic and biotic risks to allow more rigorous examination of the effects of changes in the balance of FMAs upon sustainability indicators. We outline research challenges which need to be tackled to allow managers to devise and implement appropriate silvicultural strategies to adapt Atlantic forests to climate change.

Journal

  • Journal of Forest Planning

    Journal of Forest Planning 16(Special_Issue), 67-77, 2011

    Japan Society of Forest Planning

References:  62

Codes

Page Top