Climate change is a major threat to the capacity of forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic and social services. Climate modeling tools for forestry applications are becoming increasingly available for forest managers and local authorities to understand the potential effects of climate change and to develop regionally specific adaptation and mitigation strategies. It is crucial to nurture future professionals with the knowledge and skills to use new modelling tools and interpret model predictions in forest planning and management practices, and to develop forest resources management strategies to maintain and improve the resilience and productivity of forest ecosystems under a rapidly changing climate.
This course will introduce the concepts and urgencies of climate change and its potential impacts on global forest systems. It will also introduce various climatic and ecological modeling tools for forestry applications, including adaptive management strategies. Subsequent course modules will encompass introductions to climatic and ecological models, more specifically addressing applications to forestry to increase the resilience and viability of forest ecosystems.
Students will master skills and techniques to: 1) use climatic models to generate spatial climate data; 2) build ecological models; and 3) interpret and apply model output to forest management practice. Finally all concepts will be reviewed and synthesized through case studies and applied to a final group project.
This course will introduce students to:
- The basic concept of climate change and its impacts on forest ecosystems;
- The principles of climatic and ecological models;
- Skills and techniques for using climatic models and building ecological models; and
- Methods of incorporating model predictions in developing adaptive forest management strategies in response to climate change.
By the end of the course students will be able to:
- Explain climate change and its impact on forest ecosystems at local and global scales;
- Use the scale-free climate model ClimateNA (for North America) and ClimateAP (for Asia Pacific) to generate climate data for specific locations and geographic areas (climate maps);
- Build ecological niche models and generate spatial model predictions;
- Interpret and incorporate model outputs in developing strategies for conservation, adaptation, and management under a changing climate.