Climatic Change

, Volume 138, Issue 1–2, pp 267–282 | Cite as

Adaptation services and pathways for the management of temperate montane forests under transformational climate change

  • Matthew J. Colloff
  • Michael D. Doherty
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Michael Dunlop
  • Russell M. Wise
  • Suzanne M. Prober


In regions prone to wildfire, a major driver of ecosystem change is increased frequency and intensity of fire events caused by a warming, drying climate. Uncertainty over the nature and extent of change creates challenges for how to manage ecosystems subject to altered structure and function under climate change. Using montane forests in south-eastern Australia as a case study, we addressed this issue by developing an ecosystem state-and-transition model based on a synthesis of expert knowledge and published data, with fire frequency and intensity as drivers. We then used four steps to determine future adaptation options: (1) estimation of changes in ecosystem services under each ecosystem state to identify adaptation services: the ecosystem processes and services that help people adapt to environmental change; (2) identification and sequencing of decision points to maintain each ecosystem state or allow transition to an alternative state; (3) analysis of interactions between societal values, scientific and management knowledge and institutional rules (vrk) required to reframe the decision context for future management, and (4) determining options for an adaptation pathway for management of montane forests under climate change. Our approach is transferable to other ecosystems for which alternative states can be predicted under climate change.


Ecosystem Service Fire Regime Montane Forest Decision Context Fire Danger 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by CSIRO Land and Water and contributes to OPERAs FP7-ENV-2012-two-stage-308393, the Transformative Adaptation Research Alliance (TARA) and the CSIRO Enabling Adaptation Pathways Project (EAP). Sandra Lavorel acknowledges funding from the CSIRO Distinguished Visiting Scientist Program. We thank Drs Saul Cunningham and Helen Murphy (CSIRO Land and Water) for their constructive reviews of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1724_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2910 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Colloff
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael D. Doherty
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandra Lavorel
    • 3
  • Michael Dunlop
    • 1
  • Russell M. Wise
    • 1
  • Suzanne M. Prober
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIRO Land and WaterCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityActonAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Ecologie AlpineCNRS - Université Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance
  4. 4.CSIRO Land and WaterWembleyAustralia

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