Side Event: Integrative approaches to improve sustainable forest management under climate change

One of our four research forests where innovative models and tools for climate change adaptation are being used - Central Highlands Region, Victoria, Australia

One of our four research forests where innovative models and tools for climate change adaptation are being used – Central Highlands Region, Victoria, Australia

Forests provide a unique challenge and major opportunity for climate change mitigation, with a fine line between their immense capacity to either contribute to or mitigate climate change.

Sustainable forest management is crucial, as a decrease in the health and resilience of forest ecosystems can cause transition from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Maintaining these ecosystems is not only an effective climate change mitigation strategy, but is also important for the millions that depend on forests for social and economic needs.

Despite the importance of sustainable forest management, there is a lack of science-based decision-making and considerable uncertainty over management policies that enable forests and forest-dependent communities to adapt to climate change. Our research project Adaptation of Asia-Pacific Forests to Climate Change addresses this issue by providing innovative models, tools and decision-making frameworks for sustainable forest management.

An example projection from our climate and ecological models showing that the climate niche of Chinese fir is disappearing with climate change

An example projection from our climate and ecological models showing that the climate niche of Chinese fir is disappearing with climate change

Our project has produced the best available, high-resolution climate model in the Asia-Pacific region and has led to many important findings such as the projected loss of suitable habitat for Chinese fir, the most socially and economically important coniferous species in China, in the future climate. We will be sharing these findings, as well as many others, and possible solutions at a side event at this year’s World Forestry Congress.

Our project has brought together scientists, government officials, forest managers, and local communities to better facilitate climate change adaptation. The easily accessible tools and widely applicable strategies and frameworks make the results of this project valuable and beneficial to everyone in the scientific and political community.

By sharing our findings at WFC2015, we hope to expand this international network and contribute to developing the best possible policies and management strategies to ensure continued productivity and vitality of the world’s forests.

Blogpost submitted by Brianne Riehl (Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) – b.riehl(at)alumni.ubc.ca
Pictures courtesy Dr. John Innes and Dr. Tongli Wang (University of British Columbia)

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