FOREST EUROPE Webinar: Drought adaptation of forests in Europe – Practical strategies

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FOREST EUROPE continues its journey to delve into measures we might take at regional, national, and international levels to support Europe’s forests in adapting to drought, unravel the science behind these recommendations, and provide practical guidance on the measures.

Extreme droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity and, together with rising temperatures, weaken trees, threatening forest ecosystems and the services provided. Extensive tree dieback and mortality related to drought have already been detected across the globe and require more effective strategies to adapt forests to such droughts and increase forest resistance and resilience. During the webinar we are looking at the extreme drought event in 2018 in Central-Europe and its devastating impact on beech forests. We will discuss the vulnerability of European beech, but also provide insights into recovery mechanisms. Recovery is a central part of resilience; however, it is often overlooked: to what extent is recovery after drought events possible, and is recovery related to acclimation? In the next step, we will introduce the development of a decision support tool in use in the state of Hesse, Germany, providing every single forest owner in Hesse with site-specific recommendations of forest development types (“Waldentwicklungsziele”), consisting of mixed species to disperse the risks of damage.

 Furthermore, the webinar will provide the latest insights gained from studying practical strategies for minimizing vulnerability to drought, e.g., by thinning as a means of increasing the drought tolerance of existing forests in the short term before long-term adaptation through species changes may be possible. Finally, we are looking at the relationship between the hemiparasitic pine mistletoe and its host (during dry periods) and learning about the measures taken by forest management and experiences from Poland and Switzerland.

This webinar is part of FOREST EUROPE’s “From the roots to the canopy” webinar series and is organized in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).