Mountain Forests


Key Issues and Recommendations

A heterogeneous structure in a mountain forest near Sedrun, Switzerland, helps to ensure permanent forest cover (1980) (Source: OTT).
The key issues are:
  • an efficient and future-oriented management of natural disturbances resulting from global climate change;
  • an effective management of forest-wildlife interactions;
  • a wise use of the timber resource;
  • and an effective management for non-timber values.
The management of climate change-related challenges requires further research on the effects of climate change extremes on forests, sensitivity analyses and effective early warning systems to detect such changes at an early stage. Furthermore, it is necessary to have a sufficient number of staff for forest services, who have a profound knowledge on the Alpine forests and their local history in their specific region. Field experiments to create forests adapted to future climate, and comparisons with natural succession are important. Concerning implementation, it is crucial to include economic aspects when looking at management options. In forest management, economic assessments must make use of simulation models, as the time scales to be considered stretch over many decades.

The regeneration phase must receive particular attention since this phase is decisive for the composition of the future forests. Further research is needed on wildlife-forest interactions. If ungulates compromise the development of forests adapted to future climate, e.g., by leaving only Norway spruce, adequate control measures (hunting, habitat enhancements) are needed.

Another issue is avoiding a depletion of the timber resource. If fuel prices continue to rise, this question will deserve more attention. Regulations and incentives must be used to ensure an adequate management for non-timber values.
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Further Readings & Links

BUGMANN (2005)
A short article about the long term effects of global change on mountain forest.