Incorporating climate change into strategic forest planning: A Gagetown case study using new yields and succession rules for the Acadian forest
Keywords:climate change, Acadian forest, succession forest
Climate change has been identified as a major threat to forest ecosystems worldwide, with significant impacts on forest growth, mortality, and composition. To ensure the sustainability of forest resources, it is critical to incorporate these changes into strategic forest planning models. We have developed a novel method for parameterizing strategic planning models (Woodstock) using a spatially explicit individual tree-based model derived from PICUS. Our method allows to produce climate-sensitive yield curves and transition rules to project the forest inventory under several climate scenarios. We applied this approach to the Gagetown forest located in southern New Brunswick at the center of the Acadian forest biome. Our results show that climate change could lead to a deficit of 10-40% of the available volume after only 80 years without any forest harvesting activities. Balsam fir, black spruce, and trembling aspen are the three most vulnerable species in the Acadian forest, dropping in relative abundance from 56% combined to 14-8% almost entirely in favor of red maple. This approach enables us to integrate our best knowledge of the climate sensitivity of each species and assemblage into strategic forest planning models and thus provide a pathway for future climate-adaptive management plans.