Uneven-aged management options to promote forest resilience for climate change adaptation: effects of group selection and harvesting intensity
Climate change is expected to increase forest vulnerability through disturbances such as windstorms and droughts. Forest managers are therefore investigating strategies to increase forest resistance and resilience, especially by promoting uneven-aged and mixed forests through group selection, and by reducing stand stocking and large trees proportion. However, there is little information on the long-term impacts of these two practices.
The objectives of this study were (1) to develop an original silviculture algorithm designed for uneven-aged management and (2) to use it to assess the effects of the above-mentioned management methods in long-term simulations.
We simulated individual and group selection techniques in order to study the effects of group size, harvesting intensity and their interactions on wood production, stand heterogeneity, and regeneration in mountain spruce–fir forests. We used the spatially explicit individual-based forest model Samsara2 to simulate forest dynamics.
Our simulation results confirmed the positive effect of group selection practices on structure diversity and regeneration but not on spruce maintenance. Increasing harvesting intensity enabled forest destocking but decreased structure diversity and led to non-sustained yields for the most intensive scenarios.
As adaptation measure, we thus recommend moderate group selection harvesting creating 500 m2 gaps.
KeywordsForest resilience Climate change adaptation Uneven-aged selection forest Thinning and harvesting algorithm Forest dynamics modeling
We are grateful to François de Coligny, who gave us some helpful knowledge about the Java language and helped us with the programming work. We also thank Christine Deleuze, Thierry Sardin, Didier François, and Bruno Chopard from the French National Forest Office (ONF) for their collaboration during the algorithm development. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
This work was financially supported by both the GeForHet project (n° E23/2010), from the French research program “Biodiversity, Forest Management and Public Policy” (BGF), and by the European Research project “Advanced multifunctional forest management in European mountain ranges” (ARANGE, n° 289437).
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