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Responding to climate change in forest management: two decades of recommendations

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Recommendations for responding to climate change in forest management have proliferated over the past two decades. A systematic review of the scientific literature revealed that the majority of such recommendations (86%) focused primarily on maintaining existing ecological patterns and processes via either passive or active adaptation approaches, while 14% focused on transformation to new system configurations through active interventions. Most recommendations (69%) were general, non‐specific principles and derived from research conducted in North America or Europe. These findings highlight the need for (1) more actionable recommendations and diversification in geographic inquiry, specifically in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean; (2) increased contributions from social science and mixed social–ecological inquiry; and (3) governance processes that enhance dialogue among stakeholders to better anticipate and navigate the trade‐offs implied by potential future forests in the decades to come.
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© The Ecological Society of America Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974
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Front Ecol Environ 2018; doi:10.1002/fee.1974
The need to plan for and adapt to climate change is widely
acknowledged in forest management and other resource
management contexts (Lawler 2009). Over the past two dec-
ades, scientists, managers, and practitioners have increasingly
considered approaches for adapting practices and policies to
accommodate changing temperature and precipitation (Keenan
2015) and disturbance (Vilà- Cabrera et al. 2018) regimes, in
attempts to meet agency mandates (Jantarasami et al. 2010;
Hagerman 2016). Fulfilling these mandates requires addressing
such questions as: what is the current state of the science of
forest management responses to climate change? What specific
types of strategies are being recommended? What are the
knowledge gaps and research priorities moving forward?
Previous systematic reviews of climate- change adaptation
include those that consider multiple sectors beyond a focus on
forestry (eg agriculture, tourism, infrastructure). Bierbaum
et al. (2012) used policy documents to assess existing and
planned climate adaptation actions in the US, and Berrang-
Ford et al. (2011) drew upon the peer- reviewed scientific liter-
ature to characterize adaptation at the global level. Both studies
highlighted the lack of implementation of the various recom-
mendations for adaptation. Previous systematic reviews spe-
cific to forestry include an assessment of ecological dimensions
of adaptation in forest management in the Mediterranean
region (Vilà- Cabrera et al. 2018) and a broader review of
climate- change impacts and forest ecosystem vulnerabilities to
climate change (Keenan 2015). To date, however, no systematic
synthesis of the scientific literature has addressed policy-
relevant questions relating to recommendations for adaptation
in forest management and their governance implications. A
review of similar scope on biodiversity management (Heller
and Zavaleta 2009) inspired us to address that gap here.
Adaptation and transformation in forested social–
ecological systems
In this paper, we dene adaptation as the human responses
to actual and expected impacts of climate change (Adger
et al. 2005; Moser and Ekstrom 2010). Within the eld of
forest management, Millar et al. (2007) describe adaptation
as encompassing strategies for resistance (maintaining current
states by “forestalling impacts”), resilience (“improving the
capacity of ecosystems to return to desired conditions aer
disturbance”), and response (facilitating ecosystem transi-
tions). is classication scheme has been both highly cited
in the literature and applied in practice (Raymond et al.
2014). Focusing primarily on ecological dimensions, the
Responding to climate change in forest
management: two decades of recommendations
Shannon M Hagerman* and Ricardo Pelai
Recommendations for responding to climate change in forest management have proliferated over the past two decades. A system-
atic review of the scientific literature revealed that the majority of such recommendations (86%) focused primarily on maintaining
existing ecological patterns and processes via either passive or active adaptation approaches, while 14% focused on transformation
to new system configurations through active interventions. Most recommendations (69%) were general, non- specific principles
and derived from research conducted in North America or Europe. These findings highlight the need for (1) more actionable rec-
ommendations and diversification in geographic inquiry, specifically in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean;
(2) increased contributions from social science and mixed social–ecological inquiry; and (3) governance processes that enhance
dialogue among stakeholders to better anticipate and navigate the trade- offs implied by potential future forests in the decades to
come.
Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, Canada *(shannon.hagerman@ubc.ca)
In a nutshell:
Scientists and practitioners are grappling with the challenge
of how to respond to climate change in forest manage-
ment
Based on a systematic review of the scholarly literature,
we identied geographic and disciplinary biases in the
types of knowledge used to inform recommendations
Recommendations for forest management tend to be gen-
eral rather than actionable and oriented toward the goal
of adaptation as opposed to transformation
Increased attention to forms of governance that help nav-
igate anticipated dicult trade-os between adaptation
and transformation pathways are needed
ese trade-os are expected to occur under conditions
of high ecological uncertainty and diverse societal and
stakeholder views
Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974 © The Ecological Society of America
SM Hagerman and R Pelai
2 REVIEWS
categories put forth by Millar et al. (2007) utilize earlier
interpretations of resilience as “the capacity of a system to
absorb disturbance…while undergoing change so as to still
retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and
feedbacks” (Walker et al. 2004). Ideas about resilience have
expanded over the past decade. Many resilience scholars
have widened their analytical focus from ecological dimen-
sions to encompass social–ecological systems (SES; Berkes
2017). Below, we briey review and then apply recent schol-
arship on the relationship between resilience, adaptation,
and transformation from an SES perspective. In contrast to
the above typology, where resilience contributes to adapta-
tion, we align our inquiry with the perspective that the
resilience of an SES is a function of both adaptation and
transformation. is shis the focus from resilience as main-
tenance, to resilience as dynamic. is vantage point is of
further use in identifying potential trade- os associated with
adaptation and transformation actions.
Within and beyond the SES literature, the concept of resil-
ience remains the subject of debate (see Davidson et al. 2016).
Two issues are directly relevant to our analysis. The first con-
cerns ambiguities associated with the concepts of resilience,
adaptation, and transformation. In partial contrast to earlier
applications of resilience (Millar et al. 2007), many SES schol-
ars view the overall resilience of an SES as including elements
of both adaptation and transformation (Folke et al. 2010;
Fisichelli et al. 2015; Hahn and Nykvist 2017). For these
scholars, resilience is “concerned with how to persist through
continuous development in the face of change and how to
innovate and transform into new, more desirable configura-
tions” (Folke 2006). From this perspective, the goal at one scale
may be adaptation to sustain “development on current path-
ways” (eg policies to ensure the long- term sustainability of the
forestry sector), whereas at another scale the goal may be
transformation and a shift in “development into other emer-
gent pathways” (eg management to facilitate the establishment
of species outside of historical natural ranges in response to
climate change – a process referred to as assisted migration).
Thus, SES resilience is not separate from transformation, nor is
resilience about resistance to change (Folke 2006); rather, it
includes both adaptation and transformation (eg the capacity
of an SES to create a fundamentally new system when ecologi-
cal, economic, or social structures make the existing system
untenable) (Walker et al. 2004), both of which are essential to
maintain overall resilience (Folke et al. 2010). Additional
nuances concerning resilience and transformation are beyond
the scope of this paper (Andrachuk and Armitage 2015). Here,
we use the conceptual basis described above as the foundation
for applying the concepts of adaptation and transformation to
characterize forest management recommendations.
A second area of contention concerns the extent to which
resilience thinking adequately incorporates social processes,
political relations, and the ways in which different groups are
or are not connected to structures of power (Brown 2013;
Harrison and Chiroro 2016; Ingalls and Stedman 2016). In
particular, the idea of “desirable configurations” inherent in
the definition of resilience reflects its normative character. By
this we mean that what counts as desirable is tied to values-
based ideals (Crane 2010; Andrachuk and Armitage 2015).
This matters because SES include a variety of actors represent-
ing a wide range of values, divergent perspectives as to what
counts as “desirable, and diverse preferences for the means to
achieve desired ends (Castree et al. 2014). These complexities
of human behavior and institutions are always relevant in
management decisions for SES and are arguably even more
important in the context of choosing potentially transforma-
tive future management pathways. That is, when multiple
future forests are possible in the context of uncertain future
climates, the need to recognize the role of diverse values as
they shape preferences for management of SES, as well as the
need for public debate and stakeholder deliberation, becomes
paramount.
Finally, considering adaptation and transformation actions
from multiple perspectives, trade- offs arise between desired
objectives. For example, proposals for reforestation with non-
native seed stock may be opposed by stakeholders whose
worldview includes the perspective that humans should not
intervene in nature. Navigating these trade- offs reveals under-
lying structures of power, thus raising the importance of gov-
ernance (a point to which we will return to in later sections).
In this paper, we apply the classification of SES resilience
described above (characterizing both adaptation and transfor-
mation approaches) to analyze recommendations for forest
management made over the past two decades, in light of cli-
mate change. In addition, we examine the extent to which
social dimensions are being considered in forest management
recommendations. Our specific objectives were to (1) charac-
terize the features of the scientific forest management literature
(eg in terms of geographic focus, forest type considered, rec-
ommendations made, and evidence basis for recommenda-
tions) over time; and (2) analyze recommendations through
the lens of SES resilience using the classification of adaptation
and transformation. In so doing, we identify key research
needs, and assess the implications of current and potential
future recommendations for policy and management in the
decades to come.
A systematic review of the forest adaptation literature
Protocol and search strategy
We used Web of Science to retrieve peer- reviewed scientic
articles published between 1 Jan 1997 and 31 Dec 2017.
Our systematic search involved a keyword- driven approach.
We used the terms [“climate change” OR “global change”]
AND “forest management” AND [adaptation OR transform*].
Combinations of the terms “forest management” AND “cli-
mate change adaptation” OR “global change adaptation”
were also used. Our search resulted in the identication of
454 relevant documents. Aer duplicates were removed, 410
© The Ecological Society of America Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974
Climate change and forest management REVIEWS 3
publications were screened for our inclusion criteria (all
documents were retained for external validation). We sub-
sequently reviewed the full text of 281 articles and removed
76 that did not meet the inclusion criteria; publications
that were not about forest management (eg forest conser-
vation), those that did not contain recommendations, those
about climate mitigation, and eight non- English publications
were excluded. rough this process, we identied and ana-
lyzed a total of 205 publications. A summary of the article
inclusion process following the PRISMA guidelines (Moher
et al. 2009) for systematic reviews is shown in WebFigure
1, and bibliographic information about the 205 articles ass-
essed is provided in WebTable 1.
Data analysis
e 205 publications were systematically analyzed using con-
tent analysis. is method describes a class of qualitative
and quantitative approaches for analyzing textual data (Hsieh
and Shannon 2005), such as the articles reviewed here. We
developed and applied a set of ex- ante coding categories
based on the conceptual background provided above. Descript-
ive categories included publication year, journal, geographic
focus, and forest type. ematic categories included the specic
recommendation and type (see WebTable 2 for descriptions),
specicity of recommendation (general principle: guiding
concept, generic, no example; or actionable: specic and clear
identication of what should be done and by whom, with
example), evidence basis of recommendation (scientic rea-
soning, modeling, eld- based experimental research, socio-
economic survey, workshop, document analysis, direct
observation, expert elicitation), and the broad disciplinary
eld from which insights were generated (ecological/biophys-
ical, social sciences and humanities, and mixed). For recom-
mendations classied as adaptation, we further distinguished
between “passive” recommendations (letting nature take its
course without direct intervention) and “active” recommen-
dations (directly intervening to maintain existing ecological
patterns) (Figure 1).
Each article was added to NVivo qualitative data analysis
software (v11, QSR International, Melbourne, Australia). The
full text of each article was coded line by line according to
established methodological protocols (Saldana 2013) following
the typology described above. Descriptive statistics were used
to summarize trends in recommendations for forest manage-
ment. This process enabled us to ask such questions as: where
is forest adaptation research being conducted? What are the
main recommendations for management? What types of evi-
dence are being used to inform these recommendations? To
what extent does this literature recognize or anticipate emerg-
ing trade- offs between adaptation and transformation? One
author (RP) coded all publications, and the lead author (SMH)
independently reviewed a selection of documents to ensure
reliability.
Characteristics of the scientific literature
Geographic focus and forest type
Our analysis included 205 scientic articles published in 70
dierent journals (WebTable 3 Figure 2d). e rst articles
on this topic were published in 1997, with 83% of articles
published since 2010 (Figure 2a). e geographic focus for
the majority of the papers was the Northern Hemisphere,
specically the US and Canada (42% of studies), and Europe
(41%). Less- represented regions included Asia (4%), Africa
(3%), Oceania (2%), and Latin America and the Caribbean
(1%) (Figure 2b). Studies that considered adaptation in a
global context constituted 8% of the total. Reecting the
pattern of geographic focus, most papers considered
Figure1. Recommendations for adaptation and transformation in social–ecological systems by likely degree of controversy and level of intervention.
Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974 © The Ecological Society of America
SM Hagerman and R Pelai
4 REVIEWS
coniferous forests (30%) and mixed forests (11%), whereas
only 7% focused on tropical and subtropical forests, and
3% focused on urban forests (Figure 2c); 30% of studies
did not specify forest type, nor could it be inferred.
Recommendations for adaptation
We identied 54 specic recommendations from the 205
articles (WebTable 2); these were classied into seven cat-
egories based on our thematic analysis (Figure 3a). Most
recommendations (39%) fell within the management tactics
category; 22% of recommendations addressed planning and
decision making; 13% focused on policy reform; another
13% concerned increasing capacity relating to scientic
knowledge; improving societal awareness comprised 6% of
recommendations; and the remaining recommendations
focused on the need to develop novel partnerships or
strengthen existing ones, and to improve institutional capacity
(4% each).
The frequency with which the 54 recommendations were
identified across the sample varied widely, with some recom-
mendations being cited in only one article (eg implement a
forest insurance regime). The two most frequently indicated
recommendations fell within the category of increasing capac-
ity relating to scientific knowledge: 45 articles recommended
increasing monitoring efforts, and 41 articles recommended
improving access to new knowledge, including the need for
multiple forms of knowledge produced at relevant scales
(WebTable 2). The third and fourth most frequently identified
recommendations fell within the management tactics cate-
gory: 27 articles recommended planting mixed- species stands,
and 27 called for managing for and/or increasing resilience
(WebTable 2).
Evidence basis
e evidence basis for recommendations made in the lit-
erature reviewed here derived primarily from modeling and
scenario projections (41%), and literature reviews/general
scientic reasoning (22%). In decreasing order of frequency,
other forms of evidence considered included socioeconomic
surveys, interviews, eld- based experimental research, work-
shops, document analysis, case studies, direct observation,
and expert elicitation (Figure 4). e evidence basis for
each publication was further classied according to the broad
disciplinary eld(s) that informed the interpretation: 59%
Figure2. Distribution of articles by (a) year of publication, (b) geographic focus, (c) dominant forest type considered (n = 211), and (d) journals represent-
ing 5% or more of the sample. The total number of publications is greater than the sample size (n = 205) because some publications focused on more
than one geographic region. Sixteen publications considered recommendations in an unspecified global context and are not included in these counts.
(a) (c)
(d)(b)
© The Ecological Society of America Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974
Climate change and forest management REVIEWS 5
of articles were informed by insights from the ecological
or biophysical sciences, 34% were informed by insights from
the social sciences and humanities, and only 7% were informed
by mixed social–ecological insights (Figure 4).
Practicability of recommendations
A persistent criticism of the climate adaptation literature is
that most recommendations tend to be based on general
principles that are too vague to be actionable in specic
social–ecological contexts (Heller and Zavaleta 2009; Berrang-
Ford et al. 2011). Our review indicated that this criticism
is still valid in this management context, as 69% of the 552
individually identied recommendations (available from the
authors upon request) in our sample were described in
general, non- specic terms (eg “ecient adaptation of the
forest management system”) and only 31% of recommen-
dations could be considered actionable (eg “expansion of
suitable Douglas- r climates in BC [British Columbia] sug-
gests it would be appropriate to reforest logged sites with
this species over a much larger geographic area than in the
past, and planning to expand seed source inventories and
seed orchard capacity to facilitate increased planting over
larger areas could begin now…”; Figure 3b).
Most recommendations were oriented toward maintaining
current patterns
Considered across all relevant categories (management tactics,
planning and decision making, policy reform), the recom-
mendations for forest management in the publications reviewed
here overwhelmingly focused on maintaining current ecological
patterns; 86% of recommendations were oriented toward the
adaptation goal of maintaining ecological patterns, through
either a passive approach (no direct management intervention)
(32%) or an active approach (with direct management inter-
vention) (54%). Fourteen percent of recommendations iden-
tied transformative actions (direct intervention to manage
for new ecological states) (WebFigure 2a). ese proportions
varied by category; within the management tactics category,
90% of recommendations focused on maintaining existing
ecological patterns (via both passive and active approaches),
with only 10% considering actions to achieve transformation
to new assemblages of species (WebFigure 2b). Transformation
recommendations comprised 29% of the planning and decision-
making category, and 30% of the policy reform category
(WebFigure 2, c and d).
Implications for research and management
Our review identied a range of recommendations for forest
management in response to climate change. ree implica-
tions for future research and practice arise from our analysis,
including the need for (1) more diverse and localized forms
of expertise to inform recommendations; (2) systematic con-
sideration of the conditions under which managing for adap-
tation or transformation are most appropriate; and (3)
governance processes that incorporate multiple perspectives
and forms of knowledge under uncertainty, and evaluate
possible trade- os associated with those perspectives.
Diverse forms of expertise
It is concerning that insights from the social sciences and
mixed social–ecological inquiry were, for the most part,
marginal to informing recommendations. Decades of empir-
ical research in the environmental social sciences and human-
ities have revealed the inuential roles of human values,
beliefs, and attitudes (Adger et al. 2017) and of institutions
(including cultural institutions; Cote and Nightingale 2012)
in shaping asymmetrical power structures (Nayak et al. 2015).
Combined, these aspects of human behavior, institutions,
and power drive preferences, policy development, and ulti-
mately social and ecological outcomes. Developing future
forest management strategies requires an understanding not
Figure3. Distribution of specific (discrete) recommendations by (a) category (n = 54) and (b) degree of specificity across each recommendation (general
principle versus actionable) (n = 552).
(a) (b)
Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974 © The Ecological Society of America
SM Hagerman and R Pelai
6 REVIEWS
only of climate dynamics and ecological responses but also
of how human behavior and institutions shape adaptation
pathways and social–ecological outcomes for dierent groups.
Within the specific realm of SES research, Cranes (2010)
examination of cultural resilience in an agropastoral system in
Mali, West Africa, demonstrates how some of the factors out-
lined above shape SES, and why failing to take social scientific
knowledge into account is scientifically, ethically, and practi-
cally problematic. As part of a larger biophysical and socioeco-
nomic study designed to better characterize vulnerability and
resilience in response to climatic, ecological, and political
changes in the region, Cranes (2010) research drew from inter-
views, participant observation, and an ethnoecological survey
to examine the knowledge systems of different ethnic groups
in relation to soil and land management. Contributions from
that study included the following. First, the social data revealed
connections between livelihoods and ecosystem function and
diverse social institutions, cultural identities, and complex val-
ues. Understanding how different cultural norms shaped pref-
erences for different management alternatives informed a
more thorough characterization of the SES. Second, land man-
agement policies, including adaptation actions, should include
the diverse perspectives of the communities and stakeholders
who will be affected by potential adaptive pathways, so under-
standing these are essential from an ethical perspective. Third,
land management, and especially public land management,
involves trade- offs between many objectives held by different
groups, and understanding the range of perspectives and
worldviews equips decision makers with the knowledge to
design management interventions that are culturally appropri-
ate and that enjoy broad support.
Understanding the dynamics of forest SES poses unique
challenges, given the lengthy life span of many tree species, lag
times in response to changes in environmental conditions (eg
climate change), and complex and uncertain feedbacks between
forest, climate, and institutional dimensions. It is because of
these complexities and uncertainties that it becomes even
more important to incorporate social insights (and public
input, further described below) into management strategies, as
practitioners increasingly seek to manage not for past known
states but for multiple (and potentially contested) futures.
The limited consideration of social- science insights that we
have observed in forest management can also be seen more
broadly in resource management, including conservation
(Heller and Zavaleta 2009; Teel et al. 2017). This includes those
pointing to a misconception of social research as playing an
outreach role (Viseu 2015) and others who argue for consider-
ation of a broader range of social- science insights beyond an
instrumental emphasis on effectiveness (Bennett and Roth
2018). We recommend two areas of action.
First, while efforts to enhance the appropriate use of social
research methods when practiced by researchers trained in the
physical or life sciences represent an important contribution to
enhancing technical capacity (Sutherland et al. 2018), realizing
the full value of social- science insights to complex problems –
such as characterization of resource management dilemmas –
requires the direct involvement of those with social- science
expertise rooted in diverse theoretical perspectives and meth-
odological approaches. Different perspectives and methods
reflect particular philosophical knowledge systems that funda-
mentally influence problem framing, the types of questions
asked, and how empirical data are interpreted (Creswell 2013)
and potentially “integrated. Yet, outside of the social sciences
and humanities, these considerations are often not considered.
Second, and related, we encourage the inclusion of diverse
forms of social- science expertise, including from scholarship
generated within knowledge systems that recognize the multi-
ple realities that arise through different lived experiences, as
they are embedded in structures of power. Investigating the
complex ways in which human behavior, governance, and
Figure4. Evidence basis for forest management recommendations contained in each publication (n = 223) by broad disciplinary field. Recommendations
based on insights from the social sciences and humanities included the fields of economics, ethics, sociology, political science, and political ecology. The
total number of publications is greater than the sample size (n = 205) because some recommendations are based on more than one source of evidence.
© The Ecological Society of America Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974
Climate change and forest management REVIEWS 7
institutions shape understanding of risk, support for different
policies, and ultimately outcomes in SES may fit less easily
within existing systems models but can reveal novel insights
and suggest robust solutions that may otherwise be overlooked.
Adaptation versus transformation recommendations
One of the most striking ndings of our analysis was the
emphasis on recommendations to maintain current ecological
patterns in their present state via adaptation, through either
passive or active approaches, given that most current research
on anticipated ecological impacts of global change strongly
suggests that maintenance may not always be a feasible man-
agement goal (Hagerman and Sattereld 2014). Rather, resource
managers and conservation researchers increasingly argue for
the need to also consider transformative approaches (Collo
et al. 2017) and to manage for novel ecosystems (Hobbs
et al. 2013). In forest management, this shiing perspective
is exemplied by recent recommendations for genomics- based
assisted migration in reforestation (Figures 5 and 6). In our
sample, some publications recommended new breeding
approaches (including genomics) to assist migration or facilitate
translocation of seed either outside of the native range (8%
of sample), or within the native range (14% of sample; WebTable
2). Although the genomic basis for this intervention is rapidly
advancing (Aitken and Bemmels 2015), past and ongoing
social research indicates that the future of this intervention
will be shaped by the diverse views and values of stakeholders
and the general public, some of whom regard this proposal
with optimism while others reject it outright on moral grounds
(Hajjar et al. 2014; Peterson St-Laurent et al. In press).
At the same time, the emphasis on maintaining existing eco-
logical patterns can also be read as a reasonable strategy given
uncertainties and concern about the loss of forest diversity in
existing ecosystems. In some (or perhaps many) instances in
the near term, managing for current ecological patterns may be
the best understood, least ecologically risky, and most socially
acceptable, institutionally supported, and economically viable
management alternative. A common recommendation by
practitioners in the context of adapting to climate change is to
carefully and deliberately pursue multiple strategies (including
a mix of conventional and transformative approaches), ideally
accompanied by close monitoring. At the same time, this pre-
cautionary perspective may be entangled with an attachment
to what is ecologically familiar (and thus with a preference to
manage for known historical assemblages rather than unknown
novel ecosystems). The roles of place attachment and social–
ecological memory in communities and groups (eg Barthel
et al. 2010) in the context of rapid climate change and novel
responses represent compelling and under- examined topics
for future research. As climate change and other drivers make
managing for past systems untenable, the importance of
exploring multiple ecological futures will become crucial.
Transformation actions recommended in the literature
tended to fall within the planning (eg change management
objectives) and policy reform (eg modify seed transfer guide-
lines) categories. This is perhaps not surprising given the often
highly regulated governance regimes that shape the boundaries
of forest management practice (eg as relates to reforestation
policy and requirements to plant native species). Considering
the pace of institutional change that characterizes many
resource management contexts, it seems likely that amended
rules and legislation to enable potential transformative, uncon-
ventional practices like assisted migration (Klenk 2015) will
unfold slowly and may be controversial (Figure1). This poten-
tial for dispute relates to the often- overlooked role of values
and worldviews in shaping preferences for transformative poli-
cies and management actions (Moore et al. 2014; Andrachuk
and Armitage 2015). Put simply, new policies may be rejected
outright for values- based reasons (Baron and Spranca 1997;
Figure5. Douglas- fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) seedlings in a commercial
tree nursery. In Canada, approximately 500 million Douglas- fir seedlings
are grown and planted annually to reforest harvested and other disturbed
areas.
J Woods
Figure 6. A managed forest near Campbell River, British Columbia,
Canada. One of the key decisions made by forest managers is what spe-
cies and populations to plant given the changing climate, as local species
may no longer always be the most climate- resilient choice. Results from
plantation trials, genetics research, and climate modeling provide guid-
ance for these decisions.
J Woods
Front Ecol Environ doi:10.1002/fee.1974 © The Ecological Society of America
SM Hagerman and R Pelai
8 REVIEWS
Hagerman and Satterfield 2013), such as the position that
humans should (or should not) intervene in nature. We there-
fore strongly agree with Andrachuk and Armitage (2015), who
similarly asserted that values should be taken into account
when evaluating potential pathways for transformation.
Anticipating transformation and the importance of enhanced
governance
As indicated in the introduction, a persistent criticism of
the SES literature is the need to acknowledge how values
shape what is desirable in policy development. Anticipating
a potential shi toward transformative policy options brings
this criticism to the forefront and underscores the impor-
tance of addressing governance options for equitably nav-
igating diverse values and perspectives. As forest managers
face uncertainties in climate, drought, disease, and more,
we can anticipate new governance regimes (eg for adaptation
or transformation; Gunderson et al. 2017). Risk governance
insights developed for other potentially disruptive technol-
ogies and interventions (eg nanotechnology, hydraulic frack-
ing) identify the importance of public engagement early in
the development process and before decisions are made, in
order to understand diverse values and perceptions of risk
(Pidgeon and Rogers- Hayden 2007; Partridge et al. 2017).
With these insights in mind, we oer the following prop-
osition: governance processes that incorporate multiple per-
spectives, values, and knowledge systems when considering
potential future forests, and that reveal potential inequities
in the distribution of costs and benets, are crucial when
transformative – and potentially controversial – forest man-
agement options are being considered.
Conclusions
e analysis presented here provides a systematically derived
synthesis of two decades of recommendations for forest
management in response to climate change. We oer an
empirical basis for future comparisons of recommendations
through time, as well as a reference for comparisons between
scientic and practitioner perspectives. Our analysis highlights
several research gaps, including the need for geographic
diversication, notably in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Latin
America, and the Caribbean; enhanced integration of per-
spectives from the social sciences and social–ecological
inquiry; and more place- based, actionable recommendations.
Diversifying the knowledge base in this way will enhance
and enrich insights for pursuing adaptation and transfor-
mation for forest management in the decades to come.
Additional research gaps include the need for increased
inquiry into transformational management pathways (includ-
ing identifying potential trade- os between adaptation and
transformation actions) and the values- based and institutional
dimensions that will shape how trade- os are understood
and experienced as dierent pathways are pursued. e trends,
blind spots, and future research directions identied here
oer potential insights that may prove useful for anticipating
and navigating uncertain forest futures.
Acknowledgements
Funding for this study was provided by the Social Science and
Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (Novel Environmental
Interventions in the Anthropocene, #435- 2017- 0263) and
Genome Canada (CoAdapTree project #241REF).
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Supporting Information
Additional, web-only material may be found in the online
version of this article at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
doi/10.1002/fee.1974/suppinfo
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Conservation actions most often occur in peopled seascapes and landscapes. As a result, conservation decisions cannot rely solely on evidence from the natural sciences, but must also be guided by the social sciences, the arts and the humanities. However, we are concerned that too much of the current attention is on research that serves an instrumental purpose, by which we mean that the social sciences are used to justify and promote status quo conservation practices. The reasons for engaging the social sciences, as well as the arts and the humanities, go well beyond making conservation more effective. In this editorial, we briefly reflect on how expanding the types of social science research and the contributions of the arts and the humanities can help to achieve the transformative potential of conservation.
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1) Conservation of biodiversity involves dealing with problems caused by humans, by applying solutions that comprise actions by humans. Understanding human attitudes, knowledge and behaviour are thus central to conservation research and practice. 2) The Special Issue brings together authors from a range of disciplines (ecology, human geography, political science, land economy, management) to examine a set of qualitative techniques used in conservation research: Interviews, Focus group discussion, The Nominal Group Technique and Multi-criteria decision analysis. 3) These techniques can be used for a range of purposes - most notably to understand people’s perspectives, values and attitudes and to gather information about approaches to management of species, ecosystems or natural resources. 4) Incorporating human values, perceptions, judgements and knowledge into conservation decision-making is an important role for qualitative techniques; they provide robust means for submitting this information or knowledge as evidence. 5) The articles in this special issue highlight a worrying extent of poor justification and inadequate reporting of qualitative methods in the conservation literature.
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Conservation of biodiversity involves dealing with problems caused by humans, by applying solutions that comprise actions by humans. Understanding human attitudes, knowledge and behaviour are thus central to conservation research and practice. The special feature brings together authors from a range of disciplines (ecology, human geography, political science, land economy, management) to examine a set of qualitative techniques used in conservation research: Interviews, Focus group discussion, The Nominal Group Technique and multi-criteria decision analysis. These techniques can be used for a range of purposes—most notably to understand people's perspectives, values and attitudes and to gather information about approaches to management of species, ecosystems or natural resources. Incorporating human values, perceptions, judgements and knowledge into conservation decision making is an important role for qualitative techniques; they provide robust means for submitting this information or knowledge as evidence. The articles in this special feature highlight a worrying extent of poor justification and inadequate reporting of qualitative methods in the conservation literature. To improve and encourage greater use of these techniques in conservation science, we urge improved reporting of rationales and methods, along with innovation, adaptation and further testing of the methods themselves. © 2018 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution
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As global climate becomes warmer, the maintenance of the structure and function of Mediterranean forests constitutes a key challenge to forest managers. Despite the need for forest adaptation, an overall evaluation of the efficacy of current management strategies is lacking. Here we describe a theoretical framework for classifying management strategies, explicitly recognizing trade-offs with other, untargeted ecosystem components. We then use this framework to provide a quantitative synthesis of the efficacy of management strategies in the Mediterranean basin. Our review shows that research has focused on strategies aimed at decreasing risk and promoting resistance in the short-term, rather than enhancing long-term resilience. In addition, management strategies aiming at short-term benefits frequently have unintended consequences on other adaptation objectives and untargeted ecosystem components. Novel empirical studies and experiments focusing both on adaptation objectives and multiple responses and processes at the ecosystem level are needed. Such progress is essential to improve the scientific basis of forest management strategies and support forest adaptation in the Mediterranean basin.