Climate change is significantly affecting forests through changes in their physiology, structure, species composition and health, largely due to changes in temperature and rainfall. Increased temperatures and drought result in more frequent outbreaks of pest infestations, more forest fires and increasing alterations in populations of plant and animal species. Forests may also experience more frequent severe storms. This is severely affecting forest health and productivity, thus threatening all forest functions.
To preserve health and productivity of forests and ensure their functions are delivered, it is crucial that they can adapt to climate change impacts. Adaptation to climate change is a precondition for forests to continue to play their role in mitigating climate change. The challenges of adaptation will require, among other things, that strong forest policies and management practices that seek to maintain forest health and productivity be put in place.
For more information
Publications of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO):
- Policies and Instruments for the Adaptation of Forests and the Forest Sector to Impacts of Climate Change as Indicated in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change National Reports, October 2008 (available here)
- Outputs of the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) including the assessment report on "Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment Report"
- Climate change terms and definitions