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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
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
Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, Canada *(
In a nutshell:
Scientists and practitioners are grappling with the challenge
of how to respond to climate change in forest manage-
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
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
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
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
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)
© 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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... Public education / awareness Publicising the role of forests in supporting human society can reduce anthropogenic pressures on forested areas (Seppälä et al. 2009;Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). ...
... Recognising changes in climate and in disturbance regimes allows for other management interventions, such as area-based conservation and assisted migration, to be implemented (Schmitz et al. 2015;Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). ...
... Increase connectivity Providing connection corridors between forested areas builds resilience and helps the system response to climate change. This can include thermal corridors that allow for species migration under progressive climate change (Schmitz et al. 2015;Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). ...
... A systematic review of forest management recommendations to address climate change shows a focus on management based on current ecological patterns and processes (e.g., adaptive actions such as expanding forest reserves or removing invasive species) (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). In contrast, there are few recommendations on how to manage forests using novel ecological patterns (e.g., transformative actions such as facilitating the establishment of trees outside of their natural ranges; Box 3.4) (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). ...
... A systematic review of forest management recommendations to address climate change shows a focus on management based on current ecological patterns and processes (e.g., adaptive actions such as expanding forest reserves or removing invasive species) (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). In contrast, there are few recommendations on how to manage forests using novel ecological patterns (e.g., transformative actions such as facilitating the establishment of trees outside of their natural ranges; Box 3.4) (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). This trend is expected given the high level of uncertainty (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018;Puettmann & Messier, 2019). ...
... In contrast, there are few recommendations on how to manage forests using novel ecological patterns (e.g., transformative actions such as facilitating the establishment of trees outside of their natural ranges; Box 3.4) (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). This trend is expected given the high level of uncertainty (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018;Puettmann & Messier, 2019). Managing for current biophysical patterns may be better understood, perceived as less risky, more socially and institutionally acceptable, and more economically viable than managing for transformative options (Hagerman & Pelai, 2018). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Plants sustain life on Earth, providing humans and other organisms with food, shelter, and clean air. They are foundational to the economic, cultural, physical, and spiritual well-being of people in Canada. Although plants are a constant ― often unnoticed ― presence in our lives, they are increasingly at risk and under pressure. Plants face many threats, such as rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, disease, and new predators, all of which have been exacerbated by climate change, the global movement of people and goods, and evolutionary processes. There is still a great deal to learn about how stressors affect plants and their relationships with pests and the environment. It’s clear, however, that the risks to plant health also threaten the health of broader ecosystems, affecting climate, human and animal health, biodiversity, and food security. Addressing current and emerging risks to plant health is vital to the survival of life on Earth. Cultivating Diversity examines the existing and emerging risks to plant health in Canada and offers insights into promising practices that may help to mitigate them. The report focuses on key areas of risk, rather than specific risks, as well as strategies to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience.
... Hence, the author physically visited each household in a rural village for an in-depth understanding of the local community's perspective. Further, the intensity of climate change has been accelerated in the recent few decades (Popkin, 2002(Popkin, , 2007(Popkin, , 2017, attracting global attention (Hagerman and Pelai, 2018). Hence, the population for this study comprised local people above the age of eighteen years. ...
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Purpose The present exploratory study aimed (1) to explore the traditional dietary habits of local communities, (2) to analyze the shift in traditional eating practices and (3) to examine the changes observed in socio-cultural beliefs system due to climate change. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional study was conducted with purposive sampling of 210 households in the select ten villages of the western Himalayan region. Open-ended interview questionnaires and a close-ended survey on a 5-point Likert scale are used. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24 is used for the exploratory factor analysis. Further, Atlas-ti version 8 is also employed for thematic analysis. Findings The exploratory and thematic analysis illustrated that socio-ecological beliefs are crucial in food choices, but cultural beliefs are also changing due to climate change. Thus, the shift in socio-cultural beliefs can significantly affect the nutritional security of the indigenous societies during climate-induced emergencies in the mountain regions. Practical implications Therefore, the findings of the study are significant for a comprehensive understanding of the traditional dietary practice of the indigenous community for an evidence-based inclusive food security and climate change adaptation policy. Originality/value The inclusion of cultural practices is evident for ensuring the nutritional security. But, the magnitude of the climate-induced impacts on customary societies is not yet fully understood. Thus, the current study was conducted.
... In these cases, even clear-cutting can be more valuable to overall biodiversity than selection management of forests with vertically closed canopies that have low development dynamics (Schall et al., 2018). Nevertheless, as climate change is underway, selection management of forests and similar close-to-natural silvicultural systems are increasingly promoted for example by Brang et al. (2014) andBana s et al. (2018) for improved adaptation to warmer climatic conditions (Hagerman and Pelai, 2018). However, from the point of view of invertebrate diversity, it seems preferable to promote management systems that include early successional stages rather than silvicultural systems that homogenize the landscape and where early succession-stage species and many others will not occur (Warnaffe and Lebrun, 2004). ...
The natural composition of forests has undergone significant changes over recent centuries. A closer-to-natural tree species composition has long been perceived as key to a high biodiversity. We investigated the impact on communities of click beetles (Elateridae) caused by changes in the tree species composition of spruce monocultures compared to reference sites of recently unmanaged natural beech forests. To collect data, passive interception traps were distributed within managed spruce stands of different age classes and natural beech forests of various developmental stages. The beetle species richness was slightly but not significantly higher in the beech forests. The saproxylic species group was significantly more common in the spruce stands, whereas the group of nonsaproxylic species was significantly more abundant in the beech stands. In the commercial stands, the significantly highest species richness was in the clearings (0–10-year-old stands), and at this forest age class, the vast majority of the beetle species occurred in the spruce stands. In the developmental stages of the natural forest, a slightly higher beetle richness was found at the disintegration stage. The study results suggested that different tree species compositions and stand structures affect the communities of click beetles and substantially change their species composition and thus their response to external influences. Therefore, management of stands using diverse silvicultural systems is recommended for creating diverse ecological niches in forests.
... Conservation of wildlife requires a vulnerability-adaptation framework based on species' individual vulnerability and exposure to climate change, the protection of refugia, the promotion of geophysical diversity, and habitat connectivity (Stralberg et al., 2019). A major challenge, however, is translating adaptation concepts into specific, tangible actions (Shannon et al., 2019;Hagerman and Pelai, 2018;Halofsky et al., 2018). It is important to include local knowledge as part of that process . ...
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Key messages Indigenous Peoples in B.C. are experiencing and adapting to climate change (see section 5.2) Indigenous Peoples are uniquely impacted by climate change, and are also uniquely resilient as a result of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Successful adaptation is more likely when co-created with Indigenous Peoples in ways that protect and strengthen Title, Rights, and jurisdiction, and when Indigenous Knowledge and unique connections to territories are respectfully acknowledged and thoroughly incorporated in all aspects of climate change related planning and action. Indigenous-led adaptation efforts are emerging across many traditional territories in what is today known as British Columbia, and often consider climate change adaptation alongside strengthening Indigenous governance and environmental stewardship. Climate change brings increasing flood risks (see section 5.3) British Columbia’s water resources will see significant changes as the climate warms, with flooding causing some of the most damaging and costly impacts. Many communities in British Columbia are reducing the risks by proactively planning, designing and implementing flood adaptation projects, but increased action across all scales is needed. Climate change is impacting British Columbia’s forests (see section 5.4) Climate change is profoundly affecting British Columbia’s forests, as well as communities and infrastructure located in forested regions. The risk of disturbance from fire and pests is increasing due to climate change, affecting forest productivity, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Action to enhance forest resilience is still in the early stages, as policy, operational guidance and the necessary tools are being developed. Building a climate-ready agriculture sector is critical (see section 5.5) Climate change is already impacting food production in British Columbia. Continued collaborative efforts across B.C. are needed to help advance adaptation in the agriculture sector. Adaptation continues to advance in B.C. (see section 5.6) Climate change adaptation activities―including efforts focused on implementation―are present across most sectors and settings in B.C. This work continues to mature, supported by improved access to climate data, decision-support tools, funding, supportive institutions and collaboration. However, significant gaps remain and it is unclear whether current and proposed efforts will be sufficient given the extent of the risks faced and the costs of implementation.
... Forest management in the 21st century faces changing information needs, resource demands and pressure on landbases (Messier et al., 2015;D'Amato et al., 2018;Hagerman and Pelai, 2018;Achim et al., 2021). The living inventory framework outlined above is proposed to address these challenges. ...
Forestry inventory update is a critical component of sustainable forest management, requiring both the spatially explicit identification of forest cover change and integration of sampled or modelled components like growth and regeneration. Contemporary inventory data demands are shifting, with an increased focus on accurate attribute estimation via the integration of advanced remote sensing data such as airborne laser scanning (ALS). Key challenges remain, however, on how to maintain and update these next-generation inventories as they age. Of particular interest is the identification of remotely sensed data that can be applied cost effectively, as well as establishing frameworks to integrate these data to update information on forest condition, predict future growth and yield, and integrate information that can guide forest management or silvicultural decisions such as thinning and harvesting prescriptions. The purpose of this article is to develop a conceptual framework for forestry inventory update, which is also known as the establishment of a ‘living inventory’. The proposed framework contains the critical components of an inventory update including inventory and growth monitoring, change detection and error propagation. In the framework, we build on existing applications of ALS-derived enhanced inventories and integrate them with data from satellite constellations of free and open, analysis-ready moderate spatial resolution imagery. Based on a review of the current literature, our approach fits trajectories to chronosequences of pixel-level spectral index values to detect change. When stand-replacing change is detected, corresponding values of cell-level inventory attributes are reset and re-established based on an assigned growth curve. In the case of non–stand-replacing disturbances, cell estimates are modified based on predictive models developed between the degree of observed spectral change and relative changes in the inventory attributes. We propose that additional fine-scale data can be collected over the disturbed area, from sources such as CubeSats or remotely piloted airborne systems, and attributes updated based on these data sources. Cells not identified as undergoing change are assumed unchanged with cell-level growth curves used to increment inventory attributes. We conclude by discussing the impact of error propagation on the prediction of forest inventory attributes through the proposed near real-time framework, computing needs and integration of other available remote sensing data.
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Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr (larch) is a native conifer species in North China, and also a major silvicultural and timber species in the region. Climate change has led to a change in its suitable distribution area. However, the dominant factors affecting changes in its suitable distribution and migration trends are not clear. In this study, based on forest resource inventory data and bioclimatic data in Hebei and Shanxi provinces, China, we built an ensemble model based on seven algorithms to simulate the larch’s potential suitable distribution areas under three shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs: SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, and SSP5-8.5) for the current and future (2021–2040, 2041–2060 and 2080–2100). The results revealed that: (1) ensemble models significantly improved the predictive accuracy (ROC = 0.95, TSS = 0.81, KAPPA = 0.65); (2) the current potentially suitable distribution area was concentrated in the Bashang Plateau and the northwestern mountain range of the study area. Among them, 12.38% were highly suitable distribution areas, 12.67% were moderately suitable distribution areas, and 12.01% were lowly suitable distribution areas; (3) the main climatic factors affecting larch distribution were mean temperature of driest quarter, mean diurnal range, precipitation of warmest quarter, and temperature annual range; (4) under different future climate scenarios, the contraction of the suitable distribution area of larch increased significantly with increasing SSP radiation intensity. By 2100, the suitable distribution area of larch was expected to decrease by 26.5% under SSP1-2.6, 57.9% under SSP2-4.5, and 75.7% under SSP5-8.5 scenarios; (5) from 2021 to 2100, the different suitable distribution areas of larch showed a trend of migration to the northeast. Under the SSP5-8.5 scenario, the migration distance of different suitable distribution areas was the largest, in which the high suitable distribution area migrated 232.60 km, the middle suitable distribution area migrated 206.75 km, and the low suitable distribution area migrated 163.43 km. The results revealed the impact of climate change on the larch distribution, which provided a scientific basis for making forest management decisions.
This study aimed to provide sustainable management recommendations for long-term poplar plantations in the North China Plain (NCP) within the context of climate change. Within the NCP, through primary literature and field surveys, we collected tree growth data of 2515 individual trees from monoculture stands of Populus tomentosa with different stand ages (1–40 years). Using linear mixed effects models, we examined the effects of different management practices (planting density, irrigation, and fertilization) and climatic factors (mean air temperature and climate moisture index) on tree growth at different stand ages. Results showed significant effects of all management practices on tree growth across stand ages. Also, the relative importance of management practices was higher than climatic factors. The effects of planting density and growing season climate moisture index (CMI) on tree growth gradually increased with stand ages. In contrast, no significant effect of growing season mean air temperature on tree growth was observed regardless of stand ages. Irrigation was the most important factor impacting tree growth in young stands. In addition, we found that irrigation and fertilization reduced the effect of CMI on tree growth in young stands. The relative importance of planting density and CMI did not differ for younger trees. However, the relative importance of planting density was higher than CMI in middle-aged and mature stands. We also found that the biologically mature age of unmanaged P. tomentosa stands in the NCP was about 15 years. In conclusion, our study highlights the importance of forest management practices and climatic factors for long-term poplar plantations in the NCP. Especially, planting density and moisture were critical factors for managing poplar plantations. The findings of this study can be relevant for intensively managing fast-growing tree plantations in other water-limited areas.
Global environmental changes are affecting tree population demography with potentially significant impacts on forest biodiversity and wood industry. Forest regeneration processes include seed production, growth and survival of saplings to the recruitment sizes at which trees are considered in forest inventories. Changes in regeneration dynamics directly affect forest composition and structure and can jeopardize the sustainability of forest management. This is especially the case in mountain forests where environmental gradients are strong and where forests are often uneven-aged, i.e. combining trees of all ages in a single stand. Regeneration processes are difficult to monitor. Large data sets often give only fixed pictures of sapling densities with little information on demographic processes. In this thesis, we quantified the effects of different biotic and abiotic factors on regeneration dynamics of Picea abies (spruce), Abies alba (fir) and Fagus sylvatica (beech) in the French Alps and Jura mountains. We also predicted changes in tree recruitment fluxes in these forests, for potential climate change situations. We recorded sapling height increment and density of spruce, fir and beech in 152 plots across the French Alps and Jura mountains. We then analysed how biotic and abiotic factors known to affect regeneration, namely altitude, slope, aspect, light availability, soil characteristics, ungulate browsing, temperature, precipitation and evapotranspiration, affected sapling density and growth using non-linear mixed models. We showed that temperature has a positive non-linear effect on sapling height growth and water resource availability has a positive effect on sapling density. Terminal shoot browsing, which prevents sapling height growth, is especially frequent on fir. In a second analysis, we built a more comprehensive model of regeneration dynamics, representing explicitly the process of new seedling production, sapling growth, browsing and survival, and finally their recruitment into adult trees. We predicted parameters for these processes in combination, using Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC), based on the field data collected earlier. The results imply that more frequent and intense heat and drought events could negatively influence sapling growth and survival of the three species, with probable reduction of forest renewal fluxes. An increase of ungulate populations leading to increased browsing could be especially detrimental to fir and possibly also to beech saplings. We also predicted the potential tree recruitment fluxes for different IPCC climate projection scenarios for the year 2100, and showed that a reduction in tree recruitments is highly likely. This study shows that the ABC method can be efficiently used to estimate regeneration dynamic processes, based on sapling density, height increment and browsing data. It highlights the vulnerability of future forest regeneration to water availability and ungulate presence, urging researchers and forest managers alike to anticipate future potential important changes in mountain forest dynamics.
Over the past three decades, climate change adaptation has become a central focus in conservation. To inform these efforts, the scientific community has provided a growing body of recommendations on biodiversity management with climate change. A previously published study reviewed the first wave of such recommendations in the peer-reviewed literature as they occurred between 1985 and 2007. Here we build on that work, reviewing the literature from the subsequent time period, 2007–2017. We report on the development of the field between the two time periods, and review in depth three highly ranked, climate change-specific conservation strategies from the more recent time period. Overall, recommended strategies for ecological management have remained remarkably consistent over the last three decades, and the field continues to draw mainly on conventional, long-standing conservation approaches. However, the actionability and specificity of recommendations have increased, and certain novel, climate change-specific strategies have become more prominent, pointing the way toward increasing options for practitioner response.
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The world’s forests play an important role in regulating climate change through their capacity to sequester carbon. At the same time, they are also increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In the western Canadian province of British Columbia, changes in temperature, precipitation, and disturbance regimes are already impacting forests. In response to these observed and anticipated changes, adapted reforestation practices are being developed and proposed as a means to help forest ecosystems adjust to changing climatic conditions. One such practice under consideration is assisted migration—planting species within or outside of the native historical range into areas that are anticipated to be climatically suitable in the future. We used a survey of British Columbia’s population at large (n = 1923) to quantify levels of support for a range of potential reforestation options (including assisted migration) to adapt to climate change, and to explore what factors can help predict this support. Our findings reveal that the likely location of potential public controversy resides not with the potential implementation of assisted migration strategies per se, but rather with assisted migration strategies that involve movement of tree species beyond their native range.
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The Anthropocene is characterized by rapid global change, necessitating adaptive governance. But how can such adaptive governance be operationalized? The article offers a three-point argument to approach this question. First, people and environment need to be considered together, as social (human) and ecological (biophysical) subsystems are linked by mutual feedbacks, and are interdependent and co-evolutionary. These integrated systems of humans and environment (social-ecological systems) provide an appropriate unit of analysis. Second, the resilience approach deals with change in multilevel complex systems, and has stimulated much of the adaptive governance literature by addressing uncertainty and adaptation to unforeseen future changes. Third, there is a need to foster collaborative approaches to improve social and institutional learning, as for example in adaptive management, collaborative learning networks, and knowledge co-production. Collaborative learning is perhaps where further research, experimentation, and application might make a difference for operationalizing adaptive governance, with a focus on institutions, at all levels from local to international.
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In this article we summarize histories of nonlinear, complex interactions among societal, legal, and ecosystem dynamics in six North American water basins, as they respond to changing climate. These case studies were chosen to explore the conditions for emergence of adaptive governance in heavily regulated and developed social-ecological systems nested within a hierarchical governmental system. We summarize resilience assessments conducted in each system to provide a synthesis and reference by the other articles in this special feature. We also present a general framework used to evaluate the interactions between society and ecosystem regimes and the governance regimes chosen to mediate those interactions. The case studies show different ways that adaptive governance may be triggered, facilitated, or constrained by ecological and/or legal processes. The resilience assessments indicate that complex interactions among the governance and ecosystem components of these systems can produce different trajectories, which include patterns of (a) development and stabilization, (b) cycles of crisis and recovery, which includes lurches in adaptation and learning, and (3) periods of innovation, novelty, and transformation. Exploration of cross scale (Panarchy) interactions among levels and sectors of government and society illustrate that they may constrain development trajectories, but may also provide stability during crisis or innovation at smaller scales; create crises, but may also facilitate recovery; and constrain system transformation, but may also provide windows of opportunity in which transformation, and the resources to accomplish it, may occur. The framework is the starting point for our exploration of how law might play a role in enhancing the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt to climate change.
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In this essay we highlight issues to consider when reframing conservation objectives and outcomes in the context of global change. We discuss (1) new framings of the links between ecosystems and society; (2) new relationships and roles for conservation science; (3) new models of how conservation links to society and social change and (4) new approaches for implementing adaptation for conservation outcomes. We argue that reframing conservation objectives requires conservation scientists and practitioners to implement approaches that are no longer constrained by discipline and sectoral boundaries, geopolitical polarities, or technical problematisation. We consider that a stronger focus on learning and inclusive co-creation of knowledge, and its interaction with societal values and rules, is likely to result in conservation science and practice that will be able to meet the challenges of a post-normal world.
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.
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.
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
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.