Prof. Robert M. Scheller
Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, USA
President of IALE
Concern over global change has prompted debate about whether active management can accelerate landscape adaptation to novel conditions, maintain resilience, and continue the provision of ecosystem services. Forest scientists and managers have proposed many innovative approaches including facilitated migration, genomic interventions, restoration silviculture, and many others. Few of these innovations have been tested at broad scales because of the difficulties of testing them at scale and because the full effects may not be known for decades. My lab and I use forecasting to test innovative solutions to global change and to assess how they may interact with climate futures and novel disturbance regimes. Forecasting does not provide predictions about what will or will not succeed or fail. Rather, it provides information about potential trade-offs and costs and can inform the discussion before innovations are executed at broad scales. Our results suggest that landscape structure and function will decline as the magnitude of climate change increases. This decline will be highly variable across landscapes and is dependent on both natural and managed resilience. Climate adaptive management could maintain or even increase ecosystem services although radical interventions may be necessary. We conclude that for any landscape, a range of landscape trajectories are possible and that comprehensive management efforts have the potential to redirect trajectories towards more positive outcomes.