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The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, Uni Research, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

Global change and forest economics – a case study of the adaptation of forest management to climate change in the Black Forest

Dominik Sperlich is a forest ecologist and gained his PhD in the program Fundamental and Applied Ecology at the University of Barcelona in 2015. His key interests have been to explore the role of forests in ecosystem-atmosphere exchange processes through the interplay of ecophysiological field measurements and modelling and to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change on our forests and environment.

Dominik Sperlich

My current research widens my interests in ecology by an economic dimension. At the Department of Forestry Economics and Forest Planning at the University of Freiburg (Germany) I am analysing the costs and risks of potential climate change impacts and management regimes on the forest growth in European temperate forests. This work involves i) the parametrization of a detailed process-based forest growth model (GOTILWA+) through field experiments, ii) the incorporation of a hydrological redistribution model for soil-root moisture transport, and iii) a simulation-optimization approach as a support tool for decision making. Based on these results, the aim is to find economically sound management and land-use strategies that support an integrated forest policy development under global change. In summary, my work spans from detailed biogeochemical processes at the molecular/leaf scale to ecosystems/landscapes through experiments and modelling in combination with multifunctional forest management and forest economics.


Changes in mean climate variables and increased climate variability with greater risk of extreme weather events (such as prolonged drought, storms and floods) question the adaptive capability of forest ecosystems because the long life-span of trees does not allow for adaptation to rapid environmental changes. This poses a great challenge for optimal decision making in forest management facing the demands of the timber industry and the public as well as future climatic changes. What are the right species choices? How can forest management respond to environmental changes and how can forest ecosystems be adapted to the consequences of climate change? Forest conversion to mixed species stands is currently among the most prominent strategies for adaption and risk reduction. A major research challenge is to understand the interactive effects of mixed forest, the role of these effects in regulating the impacts of environmental changes on forest growth and productivity and the economic consequences for forest owners. The aim of this talk is, first, to provide a general overview of the challenges of forest planning under global change, second, to demonstrate a case study in the Black Forest how we simulate the forest growth, productivity and economic performance under scenarios of future climate change, and third, to discuss the consequences of adaptive management concepts for decision-makers and practitioners.


Arranged date for the seminar talk: Sep 25, 2017