Novel decision-making approach supporting adaptation to the potential climate change impacts on ecosystem services in Scottish forests

2 Dec 2015

In an open access paper recently published in Environmental Research Letters ESCom member Michal Petr (Forest Research) and colleagues investigated the impacts of future climate change on forest ecosystem services in Scotland and also describe a new approach to supporting adaptation decisions in forestry.

To sustain forests and their benefits in the future, forest managers and policy makers need to know what impacts they can expect from climate change, and when and where these impacts might occur. When this information is missing, decision makers will be less keen to take any adaptation measure.

In this paper we developed a new approach of “action expiration chart” combining the assessed multiple ecosystem services under climate impacts and offering a decision-making approach that evaluates the future viability of forest management objectives (Petr et al. 2015).

This new approach helps to define the environmental limits for relevant forest management actions, such as keeping spruce forests. In addition, it can help them to assess and compare the viability of the current and future forest management actions. This chart also indicates to forest managers and policy makers how much time remains before tree species or management actions stop providing the required amount of ecosystem services. This approach then helps forest managers and policy makers to decide on appropriate adaptation action. The results show that most vulnerable actions occur in the lowlands, mainly for Scots pine and Sitka spruce, resulting in a large reduction of traditional ecosystem services. Furthermore, the chart shows which long-term sustainable options exist to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.


Petr, M., Boerboom, L. G. J., Ray, D., van der Veen, A. (2015) Adapting Scotland's forests to climate change using an action expiration chart Environmental Research Letters, 10 105005