Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources
Type of project
Type of project
CRP - Our food, countryside and natural resources
01.10.2022 - 30.09.2025
Project manager at BFBončina Andrej
In the era of climate change forests are exposed to many kinds of risks. Processes of tree growth, tree mortality, and regeneration of forest stands are changing. Severe disturbances are becoming more frequent, causing huge damages of forest stands. They lead to economic losses for forest owners, and decrease capacity of forests for providing essential ecosystem services. In the recent two decades the mutual impact of abiotic and biotic agents has caused great damages of forest stands in Slovenia, causing much lower quality of timber assortments and demanding high investments for active forest restoration. Increased forest risks and uncertainties require a novel approach in forest management. Risk management is becoming an integral part of adaptive forest management.
Our research is divided into four working packages (WP). In the WP1 risk assessment for Slovenian forests will be developed. It will include 1) the vulnerability assessment of forest stands for main disturbance agents (wind, snow, ice storm and insects), 2) analyses of changes in tree growth, and 3) recruitment of tree species into forest stands. Risk assessment will be a basis to define measures for forest adaptation (WP2), which will enhance stability and resistance of forest stands or will contribute to the transition of tree species composition and stand structure so as to be adapted to expected climate conditions. WP3 is focused on restoration of damaged forests after extreme weather events. Forest recovery after salvage logging may be cost demanding, decisions on regeneration and protection measures are difficult due to the high degree of uncertainty. Decisions on forest recovery in the Natura 2000 sites are even more challenging as a result of different or even opposite management priorities between forestry experts in silviculture and forest protection on the one hand and the experts in nature conservation on the other hand, the latter advocating for a high amount of dead wood in forests after extreme weather events. In the study area in the Julian Alps changes in stand composition and stand structure as well as changes of habitat conditions for qualifying (rare and threatened) species due to successive severe disturbances will be studied. Based on assessment of different restoration treatments in the areas damaged by extreme weather events the improved procedure of forest restoration will be prepared, which will take into account the silviculture, forest protection and nature conservation aspects.
Extreme weather events have caused big damages in forest stands. Therefore, updating forest management plans (WG4) is needed. The main questions are 1) how to adapt management decisions in a broader area of damaged forests to new conditions, and 2) how to provide effective elaborating of a new plan and how to accelerate procedures needed for the acceptance of the updated forest management plans. The improved procedures which will address both questions will be developed based on analyses of updated forest management plans after forests were damaged due to extreme weather events.
The project is specific. The research is based on empirical data on sanitary cutting, tree growth, and tree recruitment. Large datasets provided by Slovenia Forest Service will be included into analyses; the number of compartments for analysing vulnerability of forest stands exceeds 50,000, recruitment will be analysed by data from more than 90,000 plots, tree growth will be analysed for more than 300,000 trees. We expect that differences in the forest vulnerability as well as in their capacity for the adaptation between main forest types exist. Therefore, risks assessment and adaptation strategies will be developed separately for main forest types in Slovenia.
The phases of the project and their realization
Working packages (WP) with main tasks:
WP1: Risk assessment for Slovenian forests
-Vulnerability assessment of forest stands for main disturbance agents
-Modeling tree growth
-Modeling recruitment of tree species into forest stands
WG2: Adaptation of forest management to climate change
-Review of adaptations of forest management to climate change
-Workshop on forest adaptation to climate change
-Guidelines for forest management adaptation to climate change in Slovenia
WG3 Restoration of damaged forests after extreme weather events in Natura 2000 sites
-Assessment of habitat changes after extreme weather events
-Assessment of restoration treatments
-Proposal for improved procedure of forest restoration
WG4: Adapting forest management planning
-Analyses of revisions of forest management plans for areas damaged by extreme weather events
-Proposal for improved forest management planning