913324 Adapting forest management to climate change

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Lexer, Manfred Josef
Institute of Silviculture (WALDBAU)
Offered in
Wintersemester 2017/18
Languages of instruction


Forest management needs to recognize multiple objectives and interests of stakeholders including, inter alia, timber production and carbon storage, conservation of biological diversity and protective functions. At the same time forest ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to changing environmental conditions. Consequently, potential adverse effects of climate change on the provision of multiple forest goods and services need to be addressed in planning and decision making processes. For forest resource managers this will impose major challenges. The reasons are that climate change impacts as well as potential adaptive measures in forest management may affect the current portfolio of societally required ecosystem services, while there are considerable uncertainties regarding future climatic changes to be considered, and that the potential adaptation measures may require long lead times to become effective. A rigorous analysis of vulnerabilities, potential hazards and uncertainties from changing environmental conditions is an indispensable basis for any decision making about adaptive measures in sustainable forest management. Risk assessment and risk management procedures should be emphasized and risks and potentially emerging risky situations should be considered explicitly in assessment of climate change vulnerability. In the literature various approaches and principles have been proposed to implement vulnerability analysis and adaptive management.
In this lecture we will review major approaches to analyse vulnerability of forest management (quantitative model-based, qualitative based on expert and stakeholder knowledge, combination of approaches) and to design suitable response strategies in forest management. Approaches of how theoretical concepts can be implemented in the field will be discussed at different spatial scales from stand to regional level. Students will work on examples from various forest ecosystems of the world to demonstrate the application of adaptive management principles. Practical field exercises will complement the indoor discussions.

Previous knowledge expected

The course is recommended for students with forestry background and an interest in forest management decisions under uncertainty. Ideally participants should have a background in silviculture (e.g. Natural Resource Management in

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The overall goal is to make students aquainted with major theoretical concepts of climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptive management. Emphasis will be on practical implications of climate change in forest management for multiple objectives.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.