Publications and Reports
Impacts of Climate Change on European Forests and Options for Adaptation (2008)
This study compiles and summarizes the existing knowledge about observed and projected impacts of climate change on forests in Europe and reviews options for forests and forestry to adapt to climate change. It has been commissioned by the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission as an initial exploration of this complex issue. Forests are particularly sensitive to climate change, because the long life-span of trees does not allow for rapid adaptation to environmental changes. Adaptation measures for forestry need to be planned well in advance of expected changes in growing conditions because the forests regenerated today will have to cope with the future climate conditions of at least several decades, often even more than 100 years. Impacts of climate change and adaptation options were reviewed by synthesizing the existing knowledge from scientific literature, complemented with expert assessments. On-going and planned adaptation measures in EU27 Member States were surveyed with a questionnaire. The exposure to climate change was analysed by reviewing latest climate change scenario projections. The main impact factors affecting forests under climate change were reviewed. Next, the sensitivity to and potential impacts of climate change were analysed. After reviewing different components of the adaptive capacity of forests and forestry, vulnerability to climate change and related risks and opportunities were highlighted. Possible adaptation measures to respond to climate change were analysed. The results are presented for four main bioclimatic zones: Boreal, Temperate Oceanic, Temperate Continental, and the Mediterranean.
Source:European Forestry Institute with BOKU/INRA/IAFS