Current thinking about forest forest management concepts needs to recognize multiple objectives and interests of stakeholders including, inter alia, timber production and carbon storage, conservation of biological diversity and protective functions. In European forestry, an integrated approach to SFM (sustainable forest management) regime sensu MCPFE (1993, 2003) has gradually replaced the traditional paradigm of sustainable timber production. Consequently, potential adverse effects of climate change on the provision of multiple forest goods and services need to be addressed in planning and decision making processes. For forest resource managers this will impose major challenges. The reasons are that climate change impacts on forest structure and composition may be due to a multitude of processes at various spatial and temporal scales and thus difficult to anticipate, there are considerable uncertainties regarding future climatic changes to be considered, and that the potential adaptation measures may require long lead times to become effective.
There are two standard modes of decision support for forest managers which have been practiced so far:
- scientists were writing articles in professional practitioner´s magazines which were either very general or very specifically coined at a particular case study.
- scientists were doing a specific analysis together with forest managers in course of a joint research project or consultancy.
Both approaches have their merits and limitations. While in the former case the major problem for an interested forest manager who is seeking advice and solutions for his/her forest is to translate available knowledge to the conditions in a particular new landscape. In the latter case the generated knowledge and information will be tailored to the specific forest and management conditions, however, this comes usually at rather high cost. It is also obvious that just a small share of all forest owners and their managers will have the opportunity at all to directly utilize the potential benefits of such a cooperation between practice and science.
Scope of the AFM ToolBox
To circumvent some of these limitations the AFM ToolBox has been designed. Beyond informative materials about topics related to forest management under climate change the AFM ToolBox features tools which can help to analyse and plan adaptive management options. A key feature is that the AFM ToolBox contains tools and materials which are suitable for the forest manager “Do-it-yourself” mode as well as the “consultancy” mode where an external expert works together with a forest manager on a decision problem.
Here the interested user can try these tools with ready-to-use data and learn about contexts in which these tools may provide valuable decision support. Download and customization of the AFM ToolBox is the recommended approach for new user-specific applications.