Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expresses medium confidence that forest productivity will tend to increase in Northern Europe, it is more certain that damage from pests and diseases in all sub-regions will increase as a result of climate change (IPCC 2014, para 23.4.4). Observed and future responses of forests to climate change also include changes in phenology (periodic plant and animal life cycle events), composition of animal and plant communities, and increased fire and storm damage. Forestry has value to a variety of stakeholders, including forest-related industries such as timber production. By 2100—depending on the interest rate and climate scenario applied – economic losses may total several hundred billion Euros Millar et al., 2007; Nabuurs et al., 2013 ). Landscape planning and fuel load management may reduce the risk of wildfires but may be constrained by the higher flammability owing to warmer and drier conditions. Strategies to reduce forest mortality include preference of species better adapted to relatively warm environmental conditions and longer periods of drought (and other extreme weather events). The selection of tolerant or resistant families and clones may also reduce the risk of damage by pests and diseases (Jactel et al., 2009).
Adapting forests to climate change faces multiple challenges. Long-term planning and foresight regarding future risks and climatic conditions are needed. The interests of nature conservationists, biodiversity advocates, and timber-related industries sometimes diverge on the matter of tree species and genotype selection. Furthermore, forest owners are often a heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience which presents challenges in the dissemination of knowledge and sustainable practices and the enforcement of regulations. Regional geographic differences and differentiated socio-economic conditions do not allow “one-size-fits-all” solutions (Kolström 2011).
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