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Seidl, R; Vigl, F; Rossler, G; Neumann, M; Rammer, W.
(2017): Assessing the resilience of Norway spruce forests through a model-based reanalysis of thinning trials
FOREST ECOL MANAG. 2017; 388: 3-12. FullText FullText_BOKU

As a result of a rapidly changing climate the resilience of forests is an increasingly important property for ecosystem management. Recent efforts have improved the theoretical understanding of resilience, yet its operational quantification remains challenging. Furthermore, there is growing awareness that resilience is not only a means to addressing the consequences of climate change but is also affected by it, necessitating a better understanding of the climate sensitivity of resilience. Quantifying current and future resilience is thus an important step towards mainstreaming resilience thinking into ecosystem management. Here, we present a novel approach for quantifying forest resilience from thinning trials, and assess the climate sensitivity of resilience using process-based ecosystem modeling. We reinterpret the wide range of removal intensities and frequencies in thinning trials as an experimental gradient of perturbation, and estimate resilience as the recovery rate after perturbation. Our specific objectives were (i) to determine how resilience varies with stand and site conditions, (ii) to assess the climate sensitivity of resilience across a range of potential future climate scenarios, and (iii) to evaluate the robustness of resilience estimates to different focal indicators and assessment methodologies. We analyzed three long-term thinning trials in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) forests across an elevation gradient in Austria, evaluating and applying the individual-based process model iLand. The resilience of Norway spruce was highest at the montane site, and decreased at lower elevations. Resilience also decreased with increasing stand age and basal area. The effects of climate change were strongly context-dependent: At the montane site, where precipitation levels were ample even under climate change, warming increased resilience in all scenarios. At lower elevations, however, rising temperatures decreased resilience, particularly at precipitation levels below 750800 mm. Our results were largely robust to different focal variables and resilience definitions. Based on our findings management can improve the capacity to recover from partial disturbances by avoiding overmature and overstocked conditions. At increasingly water limited sites a strongly decreasing resilience of Norway spruce will require a shift towards tree species better adapted to the expected future conditions. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved:
Authors BOKU Wien:
Rammer Werner
Seidl Rupert
Vigl Friedrich
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Climate change
Engineering resilience
Picea abies, iLand

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