Climate change and forestry in Sweden – a literature review – KSLAT 18-2004

This is a report from the “Climate and the Forest Committee”, appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) to promote the interest of climate change issues among scientists and forest managers. The committee identified a need for a comprehensive literature review as a starting point for their work, culminating in this report. Members of the committee are Kaj Rosén (chairman), Johan Sonesson (secretary), Johan Bergh, Christer Björkman, Kristina Blen- now, Hillevi Eriksson, Sune Linder, Markku Rummukainen and Jan Stenlid, all of whom contributed to this report, Johan Sonesson acting as editor.

The scope of the study was to review the relevant literature regarding the impact of climate change on forestry in Sweden, to synthesise current knowledge, to draw conclusions on likely effects of climate change and to identify areas in which further research and knowledge are required.We have limited the study to the effects over short and medium time spans (20–100 years), focusing on direct climatic effects on the trees, and indirect effects mediated by the climatic impact on soils, herbivores, insects, pests and dis- eases. We have largely ignored other aspects of forests and climate change.

This literature review has revealed major deficiencies in our knowledge about the effects that expected climate change will have on the forest ecosystems. For instance, the potential effects of climatic changes on the structure and processes of forest eco-systems are even less certain than the likely nature and magnitude of the climatic changes per se. However, the most likely effects of climate change can be predicted. They generally include an increase in potential biomass production, possibilities to grow new species commercially and increased risk of several kinds of damage. Climate change appears to offer new opportunities to forestry, while increasing the risk of calamities. This calls for radical approaches to both forest- and risk- management. The reviewed literature contains indications that a better understanding of the links between climate, the forest and forestry is required.