2022 journal article

Forest management under uncertainty: the influence of management versus climate change and wildfire in the Lake Tahoe Basin, USA.


author keywords: climate change; forest management; scenario planning; uncertainty; wildfire
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
13. Climate Action (Web of Science; OpenAlex)
15. Life on Land (Web of Science)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 1, 2022

. Climate change will accelerate forest mortality due to insects, disease, and wildfire. As a result, substantial resources will be necessary where and when forest managers seek to maintain multiple management objectives. Because of the increasing managerial requirements to offset climate change and related disturbances, the uncertainty about future forest conditions is magnified relative to climate change alone. We provide an analytical approach that quantifies the key drivers of forest change—climate, disturbance, and forest management—using scenarios paired with simulation modeling to forecast and quantify uncertainties in the Lake Tahoe Basin of California and Nevada (USA), a montane seasonally dry conifer forest. We partitioned uncertainty among climate change (including associated changes to wildfire and insect outbreaks), forest management (including thinning, prescribed fire, and fire suppression), and other sources using a fully factorial experimental design and analysis of variance. We focused on three metrics that are important for forest management objectives for the area: forest carbon storage, area burned at high severity, and total area burned by wildfire. Management explained a substantial amount of variance in the short term for area burned at high severity and longer term carbon storage, while climate explained the most variance in total area burned. Our results suggest that simulated extensive management activities will not meet all the desired management objectives. Both the extent and intensity of forest management will need to increase significantly to keep pace with predicted climate and wildfire conditions.