We are studying the impacts of forest management on a variety of forest services. Using two models and a range of indicators we are simulating forest development and services with a variety of management and climate scenarios.

Lay summary

The wood industry in Switzerland has great economic potential. The forest provides many more services than protection from avalanches and debris flows, recreation and biodiversity. Some services are provided simultaneously, others compete with each other. Megatrends such as climate change and energy transitions present new challenges to safeguarding the sustainability of these services. Today’s decision for one or the other service can have consequences for the next 50 to 100 years.

We aim to investigate the reactions of growth, mortality and regeneration to changing climate conditions and build the identified processes into the models. We will thus determine how synergies and conflicts in current forest services will change in future. In this connection it is important that, even if the forest’s multiple services are not safeguarded, they can nonetheless be fulfilled at the landscape level. This effect can be analysed using extrapolation of existing models to larger scales.

Together with forestry practitioners, sustainable forest management strategies are being defined for a variety of forest types. Using forest development models it will be possible to assess ecological and economic effects of the different forest management systems over long periods of time and for different scales. Insights from the study will be implemented in a prototype of an IT-based decision-making support system.