Mountain ecosystem services, adaptive management and global change (2)

Blog contribution by the session chair, Sam Kanyamibwa (skanyamibwa@arcosnetwork.org), posted by Harald Bugmann.

The session was composed of 6 presentations:

  1. 20-1- Studying trade-offs between timber production, protection and biodiversity in uneven-aged mountain forests (Dr Valentine Lafond).
  2. 20-2: Can adapted forest management sustain the provision of multiple ecosystem services in different European mountain regions? (Mr Marco Mina)
  3. 20-3- Traditional and innovative management options in the Life+ ManFor CBD project: early effects on biodiversity indicators in Italian beech forests (Fabio Lombardi)
  4. 20-4- Public perceptions on mountain forestry policy: main challenges and responses. Case of Ukrainian Carpathians (Serhij Kopiy).
  5. 20-5 Snow-Forest Interactions in a Changing Climate: Implications for Water Resources and Forest Management (Travis Roth)
  6. 20-6- Australian aquatic fauna in European mountain forests: black swans (Cygnus atratus) are coming (Harald Bugmann)

Using the Pareto technique, Valentine Lafond presented an analysis of trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services in mountain forests and discussed different selection system practices without any a priori prioritization of the different ecosystem services. The results show strong trade-offs between some ecosystem service indicators, especially between harvested timber volume (production) and deadwood volume (biodiversity). The study demonstrates that Pareto fronts techniques are an interesting way to detect and discuss trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services, as well as to identify the set of management scenarios which may ensure a compromise between ecosystem services at the stand scale (scenarios performing well for all ecosystem services) or at the landscape scale (combination of management scenarios performing well for each of the ecosystem services). Comparison of current management scenarios to Pareto fronts can also help forest managers to assess their practices and define management recommendations.

Marco Mina applied the forest model ForClim (a climate-sensitive forest succession model developed to simulate forest dynamics over a wide range of environmental conditions in a range of case study areas across European mountain regions (Slovenia, Austria, France, and Spain) to evaluate the expected changes of ecosystem services under climate change and different management scenarios. Regional climate change projections for the next century were statistically downscaled to the local climate conditions of each case study area and used as input in the forest model. The study suggests that business-as-usual management could be suitable for preserving certain ecosystem services (e.g., timber production, carbon storage) but may be inappropriate for sustaining other crucial functions such as biodiversity and protection, revealing trade-offs between support and regulatory ecosystem services.

Fabio Lombardi presented the results of a study that tested the short-term effects of innovative versus traditional silvicultural practices on indicators of biodiversity, specifically deadwood occurrence and heterogeneity and frequency of twenty-three types of microhabitats. Fabio research shows that Innovative silvicultural treatments increased deadwood amounts, while, in the traditional ones, the only increase was related to the presence of stumps originated from thinning. Microhabitats increased in number significantly where the interventions were postponed. On the contrary, they remained unvaried in the traditional treatments, while the innovative ones created the prerequisites for their proliferation in the long period.

Serhij Kopiy presented a paper using a Q-method to examine human subjectivity and to identify and explain heterogeneity of existing values and preferences regarding forest policy decisions. The study targeted five groups of stakeholders’ values and preferences existing in the Ukrainian, and the outcomes have provided evidence for understanding how the diversity of opinions on main challenges and responses of mountain forestry in the Ukrainian Carpathians could influence the selection and evaluation of sustainable forest policy decisions. The conclusions of the study call the necessity of further development of woodlands in mountain areas of the Ukrainian Carpathians, as offering a wide range of benefits to mountain communities, the environment, and to local economy.

Travis Roth presented the results from a four-year field monitoring assessment of the impacts of forest cover and elevation on snow processes in the Maritime snowpacks in the Pacific Northwest, United States. The study found that at low- and mid-elevation sites, snow volume is greater and snow persists longer in open areas than in the forest, and different forest sites studied reduce snow cover through canopy interception and frequent mid-winter melt events through increased long-wave radiative heating. There is also snow retention differences between the low- and mid-elevation and high-elevation. The results present practically powerful information to forest managers for adaptive management.

Harald Bugmann presented a very engaging paper…. Yes, Black swans are coming. We should expect the unexpected, but we have to be optimistic! The paper is not really about swans, it reviews climate impact assessments on mountain forests and their ecosystem services, particularly a synoptic view of a highly detailed and locally accurate model-based assessment of mountain forest response to climatic change, comprising 71 types of stands in the Swiss Alps, using eleven different scenarios of climatic change. Harald explains why, under most circumstances, mountain forest dynamics will be progressing in a smooth manner, whereas unexpected phenomena (such as the black swans of Australia that were believed to be impossible from a European perspective) are likely to have dramatic consequences for mountain forests and the ecosystem services they provide, including carbon storage, diversity, and the protection from gravitative natural hazards such as avalanches and rockfall.

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