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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Solutions for adapted forest management strategies under the threat of climate change - learning from a climate gradient from Germany over Italy to South Africa

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Forests and climate change

An EU group assessed the likely effects of climate change on European plantation forests. Results include simulation models of tree growth and wood properties; the team also proposed mitigation options and provided the necessary tools.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Forests play an important role in fighting global warming, while at the same time being subject to climate change. For the sake of Europe's forests, predicting and mitigating the effect is important; however, certain unknowns remain. The EU-funded CLIMATE-FIT FORESTS (Solutions for adapted forest management strategies under the threat of climate change - Learning from a climate gradient from Germany over Italy to South Africa) project attempted to refine current predictive capacity. The research addressed forest dynamics under climate change, including the vulnerability of trees and adaptation measures. Further topics included optimising low-carbon emissions through forest management and the development of forest management tools. Researchers utilised a climatic gradient between Europe and South Africa to develop predictive models for Europe. Highlights include a cross-sectional study that yielded evidence of growth trends under conditions of climate change. The study also shed light on the effects of root-shoot allocation patterns and the growth effects on trees given varying water supply. The work revealed developmental effects on competition as well as the effect of water supply on wood properties. As a result, the team developed new simulation models of forest growth. Researchers proposed economic approaches to align forest management with an increased market and production-related risks. The consortium explored mitigation measures with a view to reduced carbon forestry. Work yielded carbon footprinting techniques plus control mechanisms for machine engines to reduce emissions. General results include improved knowledge of the effects of climate change on trees, tree growth and wood properties. Such outcomes help to improve existing growth models. Analysis using the project's comprehensive database showed potential for mitigation management. Finally, the team developed new tools for measuring carbon emissions of machine engines during forestry operations. The undertaking helped to create new networking, collaboration and training opportunities. Results of the CLIMATE-FIT FORESTS project enable better prediction of climate change effects on forests, and suggest possible management countermeasures. As a consequence, European forests may remain productive during the coming changes.

Keywords

Forests, climate change, tree growth, wood properties, forest management, emissions

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