Adapting to climate change a major challenge for forests
Adapting to climate change a major challenge for forests.
In Switzerland, temperatures have already risen by around 1.9°C since the beginning of industrialization.
Even keeping global warming down to the 1.5-2°C target set by the Paris Agreement on climate change will yield a further increase of 1-2°C.
For the Swiss forests, this warming trend will involve vegetation zones shifting 500‑700 metres higher in altitude.
Foresters and forest owners should already tailor the management of their forests to these future conditions.
Safeguarding forest functions against the backdrop of climate change The research results show that while forests can adapt to climate change to a certain extent, they are unlikely to be capable of continuing to perform their functions — so natural-hazard protection, the increasingly vital production of timber as a renewable raw material and energy source or their recreational function — everywhere to the extent we have become used to.
To avert the loss of such functions, the research programme devised various management strategies adapted to changing climatic conditions.
In particular, they result in a greater increase in the diversity of the tree species.
These conditions are changing from site to site and must be viewed in the context of the management of the forest.
In this way, for example, areas in high-resolution site maps can be shown where the climate-sensitive Norway spruce can continue to thrive (box 2).