Research Topic

Multiscale Approach to Assess Forest Vulnerability

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Forest vulnerability is defined as the degree to which the forest system is susceptible to be affected by adverse effects of climate change. Thus, vulnerability is a function of the climate variation to which forest is exposed (exposure), its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity to respond to the potential ...

Forest vulnerability is defined as the degree to which the forest system is susceptible to be affected by adverse effects of climate change. Thus, vulnerability is a function of the climate variation to which forest is exposed (exposure), its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity to respond to the potential impacts. While several studies have investigated potential impacts of climate change on trees and forest system, much less attention has been given to the adaptive capacity in the forest sector and few studies have assessed the vulnerability of forestry to climate change. It is crucial to consider that climate change sensitivity and exposure differ between bioclimatic zones and forest types. The identification of vulnerable species and ecosystems in the near term becomes essential as the impacts can be both positive and negative; moreover, the ability and strategies to cope with climate change impacts may differ. Spatially stratified quantification assessments of vulnerability can be used as the basis for targeted adaptation strategies.

This Research Topic aims at filling the knowledge gaps, regarding both system understanding and assessment methodologies for the design of adaptive management strategies, and the sustainable management of forest resources under climate change. This Research Topic will embrace multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approaches with different temporal and spatial levels, starting from individual adaptation up to the whole forest system management, given the increasing awareness that forest productivity starts from the pressure exerted by environmental stressors on wood formation and plant physiology. We envisage a series of manuscripts that will cover aspects ranging from observed and projected climate change to consequences for forest ecosystems and forest assessment, spanning a range of scales and conditions. In particular, we welcome submissions on the following subjects:
• Forest productivity change, die-back phenomena and adaptive forest responses to global change
• Adaptive responses at the individual-tree level (e.g. shifting in phenology, cambium productivity changes, biomass partitioning, etc.) affecting forest productivity
• Evaluation of the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on forest vulnerability
• Vulnerabilities of individual tree species and forest or natural community types within a region
• Interdisciplinary vulnerability research covering not only ecological but also economic and social aspects
• Effects of forestry practices on forest vulnerability
• Methods and tools for decision support and adaptation support in the forestry sector
• Modelling growth at different scales: wood, tree, forest.

Emphasis will be given to empirical research and novel methods papers, and will also include Reviews and Opinion articles to consolidate this topic and indicate future research priorities.


Keywords: Climate Change, Forest Vulnerability, Forest Dynamics, Forest Growth, Forest Assessment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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