Climate change may overwhelm forest management practices in Minnesota Resilience has recently risen to the forefront of scientific policy, but few scientists or managers actually quantify resilience or calculate how it varies spatially across a landscape. As concerns over forest resiliency under climate change heighten, a new publication by Drs. Lucash, Scheller, Gustafson and Sturtevant examines how forest resilience varies across north-central MN under climate change and quantifies the ability of forest management to promote resilience. Research Highlights Climate change lowered the resilience of these forests to windstorms under current management practices, though there was wide variation among climate change scenarios. Spatial variation in resilience was explained more by soils than climate. Small changes in management (e.g. minimum age of harvesting) were indistinguishable from current management. Only the climate change adaptation scenario, developed by on-the-ground forest managers, caused a substantial increase in resilience. Implications Resilience is highly dependent on the climate future (as expressed by the climate change scenarios), but it also varies widely by soils and management regime. Therefore it is necessary to understand not just the overall resilience of each system, but also the spatial pattern of resilience. Our results demonstrate that forest resilience may be lower under climate change and that the effects of climate change may overwhelm current management practices. Only a substantial shift in simulated forest practices was successful in promoting resilience. More creative dialogue around adaptive forest management strategies are needed, which explicitly consider resilience under climate change as a management objective.
Dr. Melissa Lucash, [email protected]