, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 430–441 | Cite as

The sensitivity of current and future forest managers to climate-induced changes in ecological processes

  • Rupert Seidl
  • Filip Aggestam
  • Werner Rammer
  • Kristina Blennow
  • Bernhard Wolfslehner


Climate vulnerability of managed forest ecosystems is not only determined by ecological processes but also influenced by the adaptive capacity of forest managers. To better understand adaptive behaviour, we conducted a questionnaire study among current and future forest managers (i.e. active managers and forestry students) in Austria. We found widespread belief in climate change (94.7 % of respondents), and no significant difference between current and future managers. Based on intended responses to climate-induced ecosystem changes, we distinguished four groups: highly sensitive managers (27.7 %), those mainly sensitive to changes in growth and regeneration processes (46.7 %), managers primarily sensitive to regeneration changes (11.2 %), and insensitive managers (14.4 %). Experiences and beliefs with regard to disturbance-related tree mortality were found to particularly influence a manager’s sensitivity to climate change. Our findings underline the importance of the social dimension of climate change adaptation, and suggest potentially strong adaptive feedbacks between ecosystems and their managers.


Climate change adaptation Beliefs and experiences Forest management Growth change Disturbance change Regeneration change 



This work was supported by grant ACRP5 - MOCCA - KR12AC5K01104 under the Austrian Climate Research Program. R. Seidl acknowledges additional support from a European Commission’s Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (PCIG12-GA-2012-334104). We thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 240 kB)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rupert Seidl
    • 1
  • Filip Aggestam
    • 2
  • Werner Rammer
    • 1
  • Kristina Blennow
    • 3
  • Bernhard Wolfslehner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest- and Soil Sciences, Institute of SilvicultureUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)ViennaAustria
  2. 2.European Forest Institute Central-East European Regional Officec/o University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)ViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and ManagementSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)AlnarpSweden

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