Managing forests in the 21st century: Experts gather at PIK

06/03/2020 - Forests all over Europe feel the pressure from ongoing climate change, yet at the same time provide a wide range of resources to mitigate and to adapt to global warming. Smartly targeted management of forest is thus key, finds an international gathering of leading experts hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research this week. More than 100 scientists from institutions ranging from German National Park Berchtesgarden to US Oregon State University and Russian Higher School of Economics participated in three days of intense discussions and a field trip, more than 30 additional participants joined via videolink.
Managing forests in the 21st century: Experts gather at PIK
Field excursion of conference participants into a Brandenburg forest. Photo: PIK

“What a forest can or cannot do under climate change really depends on how it is managed,” says Christopher Reyer from PIK, one of the conference’s organizers. “Storing carbon is not the only thing forests are good for, especially since the potential for sustainable afforestation is limited due to the scarcity of suitable land. Forests can have an important cooling effect for the region they grow in, and they substantially influence water cycles from evaporation to cloud formation to rain to groundwater formation. Yet this depends for instance on the trees you plant, hence on management.” These have all been issues discussed by the experts. All agreed that forests are under increased stress from changing conditions, namely the extraordinarily dry and warm past summers – and all are worried what the next years will bring, given the trend of human-made global warming.

The conference has been organzed by three forest research projects: FORMASAM, Reforce, and FOREXCLIM.

Weblink to FORMASAM:

Weblink to Reforce:

Weblink to FOREXCLIM: