10 Apr 2024
 | 10 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Where to start with climate-smart forest management? Climatic risk for forest-based mitigation

Natalie Piazza, Luca Malanchini, Edoardo Nevola, and Giorgio Vacchiano

Abstract. Natural disturbances like windthrows or forest fires alter the provision of forest ecosystem services like timber production, protection from natural hazards or carbon sequestration. After a disturbance, forests release large amounts of carbon and therefore change their status from carbon sinks to carbon source for some time. Climate-smart forest management may decrease forest vulnerability to disturbances and thus reduce carbon emissions as a consequence of future disturbances. But how to prioritize stands most in need of climate-smart management? In this study we adopted a risk mapping framework (hazard × vulnerability) to assess the risk to climate-related forest ecosystem services (carbon stock and sink) in forests prone to windthrow (in the Julian Alps, Italy) and forest fires (in the Apennines, Italy). We calculated hazard by using forest fire and windthrow simulation tools, and examined the most important drivers of the respective hazards. We then assessed vulnerability by calculating current carbon stocks and sinks in each forest stands. We used these values together with the calculated hazard to estimate “carbon risk”, and prioritized high-risk stands for climate-smart management. We show that combining disturbance simulation tools and forest carbon measurements may help in risk-related decision making in forests, and taking planning decisions for climate-smart forestry. This approach may be replicated in other mountain forests to help understanding their actual carbon vulnerability to forest disturbances.

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Natalie Piazza, Luca Malanchini, Edoardo Nevola, and Giorgio Vacchiano

Status: open (until 18 Jun 2024)

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Natalie Piazza, Luca Malanchini, Edoardo Nevola, and Giorgio Vacchiano
Natalie Piazza, Luca Malanchini, Edoardo Nevola, and Giorgio Vacchiano


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Short summary
Natural disturbances will increase in the future endangering our forests and their provision of wood, protection against natural hazards and carbon sequestration. Considering the hazard to forests by wind or fire damage together with vulnerability of carbon, it is possible to prioritize high-risk forest stands. In this study we propose a new methodological approach helping with decision-making process for climate-smart forest management.