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Innovative forest MAnagEment STRategies for a resilient bioecOnomy under climate change and disturbances

Coordinator: Patrick Vallet, National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), France
patrick.vallet (at) irstea.fr

Other partners: DE, FR, PL, SI
Project duration: 05/2019-10/2022

Project abstract:

The future of our forests is uncertain, especially because of disturbances, such as windstorms, wildfires and bark beetles increasing due to climate change. In I-Maestro, we evaluated a forest management paradigm to mitigate the effects of disturbances on ecosystem services such as the wood production: we evaluated if making our forests more complex (increasing the tree size diversity, species mixtures, diversity of structures within the landscape…) increased their resilience.

First, we characterized the disturbances at the European level, and studied the influence of forest structure on their resilience after disturbance events. For that, we developed and updated the Database on Forest Disturbances in Europe (DFDE), now available for any user. We used the results of this database to generate realistic disturbance scenarios for the future. We also developed methods to benefit from innovative remote sensing tools (Airborne Laser Scanning, Satellite data) to detect disturbances. We completed our understanding of resilience of forests after large disturbance with field-based studies at local and European scales.

Evaluation of silvicultural choices in forest is difficult with experimental means due to the long time needed to get a response. Therefore, we used and compared the results of four forest dynamics models to evaluate the effects of complexity on forest resilience. We integrated in the models the disturbance scenarios and defined a full set of silvicultural management options that lead to various complexities levels at the stand and landscape scales.

Finally, we found that trying to increase the complexity of the forest (diversities of species, sizes, stand structure) does not always reduce the risk of storm damage. It seems to depend on the characteristics of the landscape features, especially the dominant silvicultural system at work. Moreover, the effect of complexity is weak compared to the effect of the intensity of the management on ecosystem services.

Project website: link
Project presentation at ForestValue kick-off seminar 23-24 May 2019: pdf