The landscape-level effect of individual-owner adaptation to climate change in Dutch forests

Hengeveld, G.M.; Didion, M.P.; Clerkx, A.P.P.M.; Elkin, C.; Nabuurs, G.J.; Schelhaas, M.


Climate change can severely impact forest landscape and the ecosystem services provided. Forest management decisions (with or without anticipation of climate change) are made by each forest owner individually. Within a forest landscape, anticipation of climate change will thus reflect the different attitudes of the different owners. Many forest-based ecosystem services integrate the effect of the management strategies of different owners at a landscape scale. Some ecosystem services are enjoyed privately by the forest owners; others are enjoyed publicly without clear feedback to the individual owners. Here we use a spatially explicit simulation of a forest landscape in the Netherlands. This landscape is managed by a patchwork of different forest owners with different objectives: from strict nature reserve to more timber production oriented. We simulate the development of the forest landscape under different climatic scenarios and with different manage-ment scenarios to adapt the forest to anticipated climate change. We evaluate the impact of these scenarios using indicators for six ecosystem services. Both climate change and anticipation of climate change can severely affect the provisioning of ecosystem services by the forest landscape. Precautionary management, designed to minimise damage from climate change, was able to balance, at the landscape level, the effect of changes in ecosystem services and avoids landscape shifts between privately and publicly enjoyed ecosystem services. On the other hand, a scenario mainly consisting of management schemes that tried to extract extra (private) benefits from anticipated climate change would greatly reduce the supply of the other (publicly enjoyed) ecosystem services at the landscape level.