Abstract: Policies to reduce global warming by offering credits for carbon sequestration have neglected the effects of forest management on biodiversity. I review properties of forest ecosystems and management options for enhancing the resistance and resilience of forests to climate change. Although forests, as a class, have proved resilient to past changes in climate, today's fragmented and degraded forests are more vulnerable. Adaptation of species to climate change can occur through phenotypic plasticity, evolution, or migration to suitable sites, with the latter probably the most common response in the past. Among the land‐use and management practices likely to maintain forest biodiversity and ecological functions during climate change are (1) representing forest types across environmental gradients in reserves; (2) protecting climatic refugia at multiple scales; (3) protecting primary forests; (4) avoiding fragmentation and providing connectivity, especially parallel to climatic gradients; (5) providing buffer zones for adjustment of reserve boundaries; (6) practicing low‐intensity forestry and preventing conversion of natural forests to plantations; ( 7) maintaining natural fire regimes; (8) maintaining diverse gene pools; and (9) identifying and protecting functional groups and keystone species. Good forest management in a time of rapidly changing climate differs little from good forest management under more static conditions, but there is increased emphasis on protecting climatic refugia and providing connectivity.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 7, 2001
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