Mountain forests under climate change
Convener: Christian Scheidl | Co-conveners: Cornelius Senf, Michaela Teich, Micha Heiser, Julius Sebald
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)

Mountain forests significantly contribute to the habitability of mountain regions, reducing risk for people, infrastructure and resources suffering from natural hazards, including floods, debris floods, debris flows, snow avalanches and rockfalls. Mountain forests are, however, also highly sensitive to climate variability, potentially eroding their protection function under climate change. Since the 19th century, European and other countries in mountain regions have developed a variety of forest and landscape managing techniques for sustaining the protective function of forests. Those management techniques can be seen as are part of the European natural and technical heritage and are of high public interest. Yet, natural disturbances, changes in forest structure and biodiversity, and regeneration failure might pose substantial challenges to forest and landscape management. We thus need to increase our understanding of how the protective function of mountain forests is affected by climate change. The aim of the session consequently is to compile current knowledge on climate change impacts on mountain forests ecosystems and their protective function against natural hazards across the globe.
Potential topics might include the monitoring and modelling of changing disturbance regimes and their impacts on the protective functions of forests, regeneration and recovery failure of mountain forests, and the effects of human land use and changing societal demands on mountain forests and their protective forests. We hope to gain a broad overview on global mountain forest ecosystems in the context of protection against natural hazards.