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Climate sensitivity of disturbance regimes and implications for forest ecosystem management

Project Leader
Seidl Rupert, BOKU Project Leader
Duration:
01.07.2013-30.06.2016
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
Federal Environment Agency, Spittelauer Lände 5, A-1090 Wien, Austria.
Contact person: Dr. Thomas Dirnböck;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Federal Forest Office (BFW), Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg 8, 1131 Wien, Austria.
Contact person: Dr. Robert Jandl;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Staff
Thom Dominik, Co-worker
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Silviculture
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
Abstract
Forest disturbance regimes have intensified distinctly across Europe in recent decades, and climate change is expected to further increase the frequency and severity of disturbance events. This intensification has distinct impacts on the sustainable provisioning of ecosystem services to society, with disturbances such as wind damage and bark beetle outbreaks increasingly challenging the continuous supply of renewable resources, protection against natural hazards and ecosystem carbon storage. While we are beginning to understand the responses of individual disturbance agents to changing environmental conditions, our knowledge and ability to predict realistic disturbance regimes (consisting of multiple agents interacting in space and time) is still limited. The development of adaptation strategies to climate-induced disturbance changes is further complicated by diverging appraisals of natural disturbances in the current literature: While disturbances pose a considerable risk for controlled forest management, they also foster the adaptive capacity and diversity of ecosystems, and are proposed as a blueprint for ecosystem-oriented management. In order to cope with the changing disturbance regimes of the future it is important to embrace both views on disturbance (risk vs. fundamental ecosystem process), yet such a comprehensive approach to disturbance management is currently still lacking.

In this regard, the objectives of the proposed study are (i) to further understanding and prediction of climate-sensitive, multi-agent disturbance regimes, and (ii) assess impacts on ecosystem services as well as on biodiversity in order to (iii) deduce robust management strategies that minimize the risk for disturbance-related loss of ecosystem services while at the same time fostering ecosystem diversity and complexity.

We will address the most detrimental disturbance regime in Europe, the wind–bark beetle complex, and exemplarily study the ecologically and socially diverse region of the northern Alps in Austria. Employing a combination of empirical and simulation approaches, we will investigate two contrasting forest landscapes, spanning a gradient from a conservation-oriented national park to a landscape managed for timber, protection against natural hazards and, increasingly, carbon. Drawing on 20 years of disturbance observations conducted by consortium members we will perform a detailed analysis of the spatio-temporal interactions between wind and bark beetle disturbances. These insights, in combination with previous efforts of the PI in disturbance modeling, will result in the development of a dynamic simulation model of disturbance interactions. We will subsequently use this model to study the climate sensitivity of the wind–bark beetle disturbance regime, and to investigate a variety of possible disturbance management strategies and their effects on ecosystem services as well as biodiversity. By addressing trade-offs among the latter explicitly, and accounting for dynamic interactions between disturbance agents, climate, and vegetation the project will improve the robustness of disturbance management and contribute to adapting sustainable forest management to changing climate and disturbance regimes.
Keywords
computer-aided simulation; ecological system research; Global warming; forest ecology; silviculture;
climate change impacts; ecosystem services; ecological modeling; forest disturbance regimes; forest ecosystem management;
Publications

Thom, D., Seidl, R., Steyrer, G., Krehan, H., Formayer, H. (2013): The sensitivity of wind and bark beetle disturbance to slow and fast drivers in Central European forests .
[ClimTree 2013, ETH Zürich, SEP 1-5]

In: Wohlgemuth, T., Priewasser, K. (eds.), ClimTree 2013, International Conference on Climate Change and Tree Responses in Central European Forests, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf

Seidl, R (2013): Intensifying natural disturbance regimes and implications for forest management.
[ClimTree 2013: International Conference on Climate Change and Tree Responses in Central European Forests, Zürich, SEPT 1-5, 2013]

In: Wohlgemuth, T., Priewasser, K. (eds.), ClimTree 2013: International Conference on Climate Change and Tree Responses in Central European Forests, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf

Seidl, R. (2014): Climate change and Europe’s forests: state of the art and challenges for prediction.

A scientific roadmap for projections of global change impacts on forests, AUG 27-28, 2014, Sarajevo

Seidl, R., Rammer, W. (2014): Steigende Waldschäden in Europa.

Österreichische Forstzeitung, 09-2014, 44-45; ISSN 1012-4667

Thom, D; Seidl, R (2014): Disturbance effects on forest ecosystem service provisioning and biodiversity.
[Forest landscape mosaics: disturbance, restoration and management at times of global change, Tartu, ESTONIA, AUG 11-14, 2014]

In: Kangur, A; Metslaid, M; Moser, WK; Trei, P (Eds.), Book of abstracts: Forest landscape mosaics: disturbance, restoration and management at times of global change, Transactions of the Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering Estonian University of Life Sciences No 40

** Seidl, R; Schelhaas, MJ; Rammer, W; Verkerk, PJ Increasing forest disturbances in Europe and their impact on carbon storage.

NAT CLIM CHANGE. 2014; 4(9): 806-810. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

Seidl, R. (2014): Disturbance Regimes And Ecosystem Services In A Changing World.
[IUFRO World Congress 2014 - Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People, Salt Lake City, USA, OCT 5-11, 2014]

In: Parrotta, J.,A., Moser, C.F., Scherzer, A.J., Koerth, N.E., Lederle, D.R., Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research. XXIV IUFRO World Congress, 5-11 October 2014, Salt Lake City, USA, The International Forestry Review, Vol 16(5), 2014

** Seidl, R The Shape of Ecosystem Management to Come: Anticipating Risks and Fostering Resilience.

BIOSCIENCE. 2014; 64(12): 1159-1169. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

** Seidl, R; Rammer, W; Spies, TA Disturbance legacies increase the resilience of forest ecosystem structure, composition, and functioning.

ECOL APPL. 2014; 24(8): 2063-2077. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

Thom, D; Seidl, R; Thorn, S (2015): Can disturbance management foster both biodiversity and ecosystem services.
[Forestry: Bridge to the future, Sofia, BULGARIA, MAY 6-9, 2015]

In: Milev, M; Zhelev, P; Petkova, K; Dimitrov, M (Eds.), Forestry: Bridge to the future - Book of Abstracts

** Thom, D; Seidl, R; Natural disturbance impacts on ecosystem services and biodiversity in temperate and boreal forests..

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2016; 91(3):760-781 WoS PubMed PUBMED Central FullText FullText_BOKU

Seidl, R., Müller, J., Hothorn, T., Bässler, C., Heurich, M., Kautz, M. (2015): Small beetles, large-scale drivers: How regional and landscape factors affect local bark beetle outbreaks .
[Ecological science at the frontier. The 100th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Baltimore, MD, USA, AUG 09-14, 2015]

In: Ecological Society of America, Ecological science at the frontier. The 100th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America

** Seidl, R; Spies, TA; Peterson, DL; Stephens, SL; Hicke, JA Searching for resilience: addressing the impacts of changing disturbance regimes on forest ecosystem services.

J APPL ECOL. 2016; 53(1): 120-129. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

** Seidl, R; Muller, J; Hothorn, T; Bassler, C; Heurich, M; Kautz, M Small beetle, large-scale drivers: how regional and landscape factors affect outbreaks of the European spruce bark beetle.

J APPL ECOL. 2016; 53(2): 530-540. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

Seidl, R., Kautz, M., Heurich, M., Müller, J. (2016): Borkenkäferdynamik am Beispiel Bayerischer Wald.

AFZ, 9/2016, 36-38; ISSN 0936-1294

** Zald, HSJ; Spies, TA; Seidl, R; Pabst, RJ; Olsen, KA; Steel, EA Complex mountain terrain and disturbance history drive variation in forest aboveground live carbon density in the western Oregon Cascades, USA.

FOREST ECOL MANAG. 2016; 366: 193-207. WoS PubMed PUBMED Central FullText FullText_BOKU

Seidl, R., Thom, D., Rammer, W. (2016): Das Klima verändert den Wald. Waldentwicklung im Nationalpark Kalkalpen.

Vielfalt Natur, 32, 4-6 FullText

Seidl, R., Albrich, K., Thom, D., Rammer, W. (2016): Multifunktionalität am Prüfstand.

Österreichische Forstzeitung, 12/2016, 24-25; ISSN 1012-4667

** Thom, D; Rammer, W; Seidl, R; Disturbances catalyze the adaptation of forest ecosystems to changing climate conditions..

Glob Chang Biol. 2017; 23(1):269-282 WoS PubMed PUBMED Central FullText FullText_BOKU

Seidl, R., Thom, D., Albrich, K., Rammer, W. (2016): Climate sensitivity of disturbance regimes and implications for forest management.

FWF - Austrian Science Fund, 18

** Thom, D; Rammer, W; Dirnbock, T; Muller, J; Kobler, J; Katzensteiner, K; Helm, N; Seidl, R The impacts of climate change and disturbance on spatio-temporal trajectories of biodiversity in a temperate forest landscape.

J APPL ECOL. 2017; 54(1): 28-38. WoS PubMed FullText FullText_BOKU

** Seidl, R; Rammer, W Climate change amplifies the interactions between wind and bark beetle disturbances in forest landscapes.

LANDSCAPE ECOL. 2017; 32(7): 1485-1498. WoS PubMed FullText FullText_BOKU

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