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Adaptation Scenarios in Forest Management Due to the Possible Climate Changes

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M.A. Semenov, A.A. Vysotskiy, V.I. Pashchenko

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The increased human impact on the environment in the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries has resulted in global warming, aridization, desertification and reduced ability of ecosystems to adapt to changes and recover from disturbances. As a result, the world natural virgin forests have receded drastically and been replaced by lower quality second-growth forests over large areas. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations the warming will continue even further, which will lead to increased drought frequency in the next 30–40 years; as a result by the end of the century the world economy can lose up to 20 % of the global gross product. The paleontological data indicate that the climate on our planet has never been stable: periods of warming have always been followed by periods of cooling and vice versa. Modern warming, in contrast to previous historical periods, is anthropogenic and in the European part of Russia occurs mainly in the cold season. Therefore, the amplitude of oscillation in the average annual temperature decreases, which significantly reduces the climate continentality. However, the increased mean annual air temperature in the Central Chernozem and Volga regions reflects the climate instability rather than the improved growth conditions. Thus, droughts are becoming increasingly frequent as well as abnormally warm and abnormally cold winters. Consequently, plants are suffering from increased influence of multiple stress factors. The results of the special studies enable us to conclude that the climate may significantly change in the foreseeable future. The need for preventive measures in order to minimize the effects of climate changes is indisputable, as only well-conceived actions can help such weatherdependent industries as forestry and agriculture to adapt to changing climatic conditions. It is obvious, that if we fail to take swift actions in this regard, climate changes in the foreststeppe and steppe zones of European Russia will inevitably have serious consequences for the state of forest ecosystems. These consequences might include changes in the species composition and biodiversity level of the forest ecosystems, increased risks of forest fires and mass spread of pests and forest diseases, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and deterioration of economic conditions for forest management. Our studies of trends and patterns in climate were carried out by observation of the air temperature regime and the amount of precipitation in the region over a long period of time. We relied on the available literature of Russian and international climate research organizations. The assessment of possible climate change was carried out using the IPCC methodology. We also took into account future greenhouse gas emissions and their concentration in the atmosphere. The study concluded that in the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the European part of Russia any scenario, even the mildest one, would lead to significant changes in climatic parameters by the end of the 21st century, which would inevitably affect the state of forest ecosystems. Forest fires, pests and forest diseases will become the key stress factors, which will have a paramount impact on managed forests. Currently, forest ecosystems have a fairly high adaptive capacity. However, in order to reduce the potential negative impact of unfavourable factors we need to implement a variety of prevention and adaptation measures with different time frames for the implementation. Appropriate preventive actions timely made can reduce the possible negative effects of climate changes and help to keep the ecosystems balanced. It is important to note that sheer situational and tactical measures cannot increase the adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems and will, therefore, inevitably lead to significant economic losses.


M.A. Semenov, Candidate of Biology, Deputy Director for Scientific Research and Innovation; ResearcherID: M-8712-2016, ORCID: 0000-0002-3709-1669
A.A. Vysotskiy, Doctor of Agriculture, Leading Research Scientist; ORCID: 0000-0001-9974-2482
V.I. Pashchenko, Junior Research Scientist; ORCID: 0000-0002-3748-1886


All-Russian Research Institute of Forest Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology, ul. Lomonosova, 105, Voronezh, 394087, Russian Federation; e-mail:


climate change, forest ecosystems, adaptation, biosphere, pests, forest diseases, extreme weather factors, self-regulation, regeneration

For citation

Semenov M.A., Vysotskiy A.A., Pashchenko V.I. Adaptation Scenarios in Forest Management Due to the Possible Climate Changes. Lesnoy Zhurnal [Forestry Journal], 2019, no. 5, pp. 57–69. DOI: 10.17238/issn0536-1036.2019.5.57


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Received on February 12, 2019

Adaptation Scenarios in Forest Management Due to the Possible Climate Changes


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