Time matters: Resilience of a post-disturbance forest landscape

Hlásny, T., Augustynczik, A., & Dobor, L. (2021). Time matters: Resilience of a post-disturbance forest landscape. Science of the Total Environment 799 e149377. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149377.

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Present-day disturbances are transforming European forest landscapes, and their legacies determine the vulnerability and resilience of the emergent forest generation. To understand these legacy effects, we investigated the resilience of the aboveground forest biomass (Babg) to a sequence of disturbances affecting the forest in different recovery phases from the initial large-scale impact. We used the model iLand to simulate windthrows that affected 13–24% of the Babg in a Central European forest landscape. An additional wind event was simulated 20, 40, 60, or 80 years after the initial impact (i.e., sequences of two windthrows were defined). Each windthrow triggered an outbreak of bark beetles that interacted with the recovery processes. We evaluated the resistance of the Babg to and recovery after the impact. Random Forest models were used to identify factors influencing resilience. We found that Babg resistance was the lowest 20 years after the initial impact when the increased proportion of emergent wind-exposed forest edges prevailed the disturbance-dampening effect of reduced biomass levels and increased landscape heterogeneity. This forest had a remarkably high recovery rate and reached the pre-disturbance Babg within 28 years. The forest exhibited a higher resistance and a slower recovery rate in the more advanced recovery phases, reaching the pre-disturbance Babg within 60–80 years. The recovery was enhanced by higher levels of alpha and beta diversity. Under elevated air temperature, the bark beetle outbreak triggered by windthrow delayed the recovery. However, the positive effect of increased temperature on forest productivity caused the recovery rate to be higher under the warming scenario than under the reference climate.

We conclude that resilience is not a static property, but its magnitude and drivers vary in time, depending on vegetation feedbacks, interactions between disturbances, and climate. Understanding these mechanisms is an essential step towards the operationalization of resilience-oriented stewardship.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Engineering resilience; Forest above; ground biomass; Climate change; Compound disturbance impacts; Central Europe
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 07:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:35
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/17363

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