PosterPDF Available
Sustainable Forestry
Swiss Federal Institute WSL
This project has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under the grant
agreement Nº 101000406
[1] Bugmann (1996):A simplified forest model to study species composition along climate gradients. Ecology.
[2] Huber et al. (2021): Stand-scale climate change impacts on forests over large areas: transient responses and projection uncertainties. Ecological Application.
[3] Blattert et al. (2018): Segregated versus integrated biodiversity conservation: Value-based ecosystem service assessment under varying forest management strategies in a Swiss case study. EcolInd.
[4] Thrippleton et al. (2023): Balancing disturbance risk and ecosystem service provisioning in Swiss mountain forests: an increasing challenge under climate change. RegEnvChange.
Results for the
Slovenian Case Study?
Scan & explore here:
Val Müstair
1400-2400 m a.s.l. Trzic
400-1700 m a.s.l.
Biogeographic gradient from central
to southern-alpine conditions
approx. 12’000 ha, managed by
close-to-nature forestry
Close-to-nature forestry (CNF) performs
well in ensuring multiple forest ecosystem
services and biodiversity
Climate change requires adaptation of CNF
by fostering climate-adapted tree species
High multifunctionality, including
biodiversity, needs diversified management
Hist. Climate SSP2-4.5 SSP5-8.5
Analysed along
Historic climate SSP2-4.5 SSP5-8.5
Period: 2080 - 2100
CNF-HIGH Clearcut
Rel. Difference compared to
CNF under historic climate (---)
Difference of partial utilities
compared to CNF
+ 100 %
- 100 % + 0.6
Difference of partial utilities
compared to CNF
Rel. difference of C-Sequestration
compared to CNF under hist. climate
C-Sequestration Recreation Timber Protection
Managing Alpine forests with close-to-nature forestry to
improve climate change mitigation and multifunctionality
Simon Mutterer1,3*, Clemens Blattert1*, Timothy Thrippleton1,
Jurij Diaci2, Gal Fidej2, Leo G. Bont1, Janine Schweier1
* joint first-authors
1 Sustainable Forestry, Swiss Federal Institute WSL
2 Chair of Silviculture, University of Ljubljana
3 Forest Resources Management, ETH Zürich
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Unlabelled: Climate change severely affects mountain forests and their ecosystem services, e.g., by altering disturbance regimes. Increasing timber harvest (INC) via a close-to-nature forestry may offer a mitigation strategy to reduce disturbance predisposition. However, little is known about the efficiency of this strategy at the scale of forest enterprises and potential trade-offs with biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES). We applied a decision support system which accounts for disturbance predisposition and BES indicators to evaluate the effect of different harvest intensities and climate change scenarios on windthrow and bark beetle predisposition in a mountain forest enterprise in Switzerland. Simulations were carried out from 2010 to 2100 under historic climate and climate change scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5). In terms of BES, biodiversity (structural and tree species diversity, deadwood amount) as well as timber production, recreation (visual attractiveness), carbon sequestration, and protection against gravitational hazards (rockfall, avalanche and landslides) were assessed. The INC strategy reduced disturbance predisposition to windthrow and bark beetles. However, the mitigation potential for bark beetle disturbance was relatively small (- 2.4%) compared to the opposite effect of climate change (+ 14% for RCP8.5). Besides, the INC strategy increased the share of broadleaved species and resulted in a synergy with recreation and timber production, and a trade-off with carbon sequestration and protection function. Our approach emphasized the disproportionally higher disturbance predisposition under the RCP8.5 climate change scenario, which may threaten currently unaffected mountain forests. Decision support systems accounting for climate change, disturbance predisposition, and BES can help coping with such complex planning situations. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10113-022-02015-w.
Full-text available
The increasing impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems have triggered multiple model‐based impact assessments for the future, which typically focused either on a small number of stand‐scale case studies or on large scale analyses (i.e., continental to global). Therefore, substantial uncertainty remains regarding the local impacts over large areas (i.e., regions to countries), which is particularly problematic for forest management. We provide a comprehensive, high‐resolution assessment of the climate change sensitivity of managed Swiss forests (ca. 10’000 km2), which cover a wide range of environmental conditions. We used a dynamic vegetation model to project the development of typical forest stands derived from a stratification of the 3rd National Forest Inventory until the end of the 22nd century. Two types of simulations were conducted: one limited to using the extant local species, the other enabling immigration of potentially more climate‐adapted species. Moreover, to assess the robustness of our projections, we quantified and decomposed the uncertainty in model projections resulting from the following sources: (i) climate change scenarios, (ii) local site conditions and (iii) the dynamic vegetation model itself (i.e., represented by a set of model versions), an aspect hitherto rarely taken into account. The simulations showed substantial changes in basal area and species composition, with dissimilar sensitivity to climate change across and within elevation zones. Higher‐elevation stands generally profited from increased temperature, but soil conditions strongly modulated this response. Low‐elevation stands were increasingly subject to drought, with strong negative impacts on forest growth. Furthermore, current stand structure had a strong effect on the simulated response. The admixture of drought‐tolerant species was found advisable across all elevations to mitigate future adverse climate‐induced effects. The largest uncertainty in model projections was associated with climate change scenarios. Uncertainty induced by the model version was generally largest where overall simulated climate change impacts were small, thus corroborating the utility of the model for making projections into the future. Yet, the large influence of both site conditions and the model version on some of the projections indicates that uncertainty sources other than climate change scenarios need to be considered in climate change impact assessments.
Full-text available
Forest models based on the gap dynamics hypothesis ("gap models") have gained an important role in forest ecology and have grown rather complex in the last 20 yr. They have been applied extensively to study the impacts of climatic change on eco­ systems although they originally were not built for this purpose. The objectives of this study were (I) to develop a new forest gap model, FORCUM, that includes only a minimum number of ecological assumptions but robust parameteri­ zations of the effects of climate on plant population dynamics; (2) to test the realism of FORCUM as compared to its predecessor model, FORECE; and (3) to examine the behavior of FORECE and FORCUM systematically along climate gradients in Europe. FORCUM is composed of three modular submodels: FORCUM-P for plant population dynamics, FORCUM-S for soil carbon/nitrogen turnover, and FORCUM-E for providing reliable parameterizations of the abiotic environment. For the core model, FORCUM-P' it was found that only four factors are sufficient to model tree growth, another four factors are required to model tree establishment, and only two factors are required to model tree mortality. The behavior of FORCUM was tested at a large number of sites in the European Alps. The model yields tree species compositions that conform to field data and are very similar to those of the pregecessor model. Based on this evaluation alone, it would not be possible to favor one of the models over the other. The behavior of both models then was examined systematically in a parameter space spanned by the annual mean temperature and the annual precipitation sum. From this exercise it became evident that both the pattern of aboveground biomass and the realized niches of the dominating tree species are simulated realistically by FORCUM. Extremely steep gradients are characteristic of FORECE, and many ecotones are simulated to occur in the wrong places in FORECE. Thus, some of the current forest gap models can be simplified without reducing the realism of their behavior, and models other than FORECE should be scrutinized in this respect as well. The present study also suggests that the evaluation of model behavior at scattered sites is insufficient to show their validity for simulating forest dynamics along climate gradients. Further rigorous model comparisons and validation studies are required to increase the reliability of this promising class of models.
There is an ongoing debate regarding segregated and integrated approaches to biodiversity conservation in Central European forests. The ecosystem services provisioning of timber, recreation and carbon sequestration are, however, also of great importance. The existence of manifold objectives makes it difficult to find an appropriate strategy in forest management, especially for practitioners at the management unit level. We simulated forest development over 50 years under five management strategies in a Swiss forest enterprise: business as usual (BAU), segregated (BC-seg) and integrated (BC-int) biodiversity conservation, intensive management (INTENS) and no management (NO). INTENS and BAU were used as benchmark strategies. The available forest inventory data was used as input for the growth simulator WaldPlaner. Management strategies were analysed over time with a value-based multi-criteria approach based on 21 indicators regarding the provisioning of biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) as well as their synergies and conflicts. The analysis yielded the best overall BES values for the strategies INTENS, BAU and BC-seg. However, INTENS and BAU were not envisaged as alternatives for biodiversity conservation because they lack essential late suc-cessional forest elements. Strategy NO had the lowest BES values, despite the good biodiversity results of the climax states (micro-habitat bearing large deadwood and large old living trees). Of the two intended conservation strategies integration and segregation, the latter had higher values. Segregation therefore offers a compromise by combining the positive aspects of both conservation and management-oriented strategies. With regard to the case study area, we thus conclude that a small-scale segregation of the forest into zones with multiple management strategies is best for achieving structural biodiversity aspects in multiple-objective forest management.