Management, Science, and Disturbances as Opportunities for Adaptive Transformation of Forests

By Brian Buma and Carol Wessman.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Climate change is expected to cause massive species turnover as climatic regimes shift and species are pushed out of their natural setting. Communities will change as a result of both climatic shifts and novel interactions between species new to the area. For example, a disproportionate amount of ecosystem services may be at risk if tree species are extirpated and not replaced by alternate tree species, which may provide similar services. For societies with a measure of dependence on ecosystem services derived from a nearby forest, it is worth considering if natural dynamics in the context of climate change are paramount, or if services associated with a forest are more desirable. If the latter, facilitated, adaptive transformation of the forest composition may be required through the planting of populations/species more amenable to the future climate regimes. We present a modeling case study to illustrate this situation, and our opinion and recommendations on how this decision making might proceed. The implementation of these large, and potentially risky, adaptation measures will require collaboration between a goal-setting public, ecological knowledge, and professionals and restoration specialists for implementation. Disturbances can function as decision points, triggers for action, and an opportunity to begin for climate transformation.

Keywords: Climate Change, Disturbances, Resilience, Ecosystem Services, Carbon Storage

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.77-87. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 393.180KB).

Brian Buma

PhD Candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Brian Buma is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado, studying disturbance interactions and landscape/ecosystem resilience. Currently the research focuses on the intersection between fire, wind, and salvage logging; main tools include remote sensing, GIS, and extensive field work. Current employment is with the Western Water Assessment looking at vegetation phenology and the Mountain Pine Beetle in the American West and their impact on water supplies. In prior lives, he has worked as a conservationist in Hawaii (Limahuli National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kauai), a mountain goat researcher in the North Cascades, and an ecotour guide in Alaska. Upon completion of the PhD (2012-2013), he hopes to continue research on landscape resilience in the face of disturbances, climate change, and adaptive management.

Dr. Carol Wessman

Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA


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