Demonstration of the approach of adapting forest management to climate change in the four (4) study areas

A1. Climate and climate change

In the framework of A1 action, existing time series of climate data (temperature, precipitation etc.) for the period 1950-2010 are collected from existing meteorological stations, close to the study areas. Further, with the use of appropriate regional climate models, climate projections are prepared and downscaled, so that climate data gradients for the period 2010-2050 are acquired in each area. The spatial distribution of the above information (gradients) is conducted using the Digital Elevation Models of the areas.

A2. Assessment of forest past trends and current status

Action A2 includes the assessment of the current status of forests at the four (4) study areas, in terms of a) soil condition, b) phyto-sociology, c) eco-physiology (tree growth, age structure etc.) and d) forest health (occurrence of pathogens such as fungi and insects). The study describes the current situation and furthermore goes back to the past, as much as possible. Thus, the description is based on a) field work, b) research in the archives of the local forest and other services and c) existing bibliography, and is documented upon the climate data for the period 1950-2010, collected in the framework of A1 action.

Α3. Assessment of climate change impacts to forests

Action A3 aims at assessing the impact of current climatic conditions and future climate change to the forests of the four (4) study areas. In particular, the potential distribution and status of these forest ecosystems due to the future climate change is assessed. Specifically, a response of the forests to the expected changes in the climatic conditions for the period 2010-2050 resulted from the use of climate models in the framework of A1 action is estimated.

Α4. Proposals of forest management adaptation

This action includes the proposal of measures for adaptation of the forest management practices to climate change at each of the four (4) study areas. The adaptation measures of the forest management practices aim at the reduction of the vulnerability of forest ecosystems and at the strengthening of their resilience to climate change. The proposals for adapting forest management respond to the impacts’ assessment of the expected climate change (action A3), taking into account the forests’ current status and trends (action A2). Finally, the proposals include instructions to address emergency issues, such as insect outbreaks, droughts etc.

Α5. Revision of forest management plans

This action concerns the revision of the forest management plans at the four (4) study areas, with regard to the incorporation of forest management adaptation measures to climate change. The revision of the forest management plans is based on the proposals of forest management adaptation to climate change, described in the context of A4 action.

Α6. Specifications and establishment of a permanent monitoring programme

The action involves the preparation of specifications and the establishment of a permanent monitoring programme. The aim is to monitor a) the impacts of climate change to the four (4) study areas, b) the course of the phenomena of dieback of conifer species and the intrusion of pines into broadleaved forests and c) the success of adaptation measures. Monitoring specifications describe the processes for the implementation of the three stages of the monitoring system, i.e. the establishment of permanent monitoring plots, the drafting of data collection guide and the uploading of the monitoring results on the project’s website.