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Climate change challenge

Link to Case Study results here

Land cover in this case study area is primarily made up of coniferous forest, broadleaved forest and heathland. The region has a long history of human use that has resulted in degradation of the forest to heathland, which was further degraded by grazing. In the 19th and 20th centuries most heathland and drift sand areas were planted with Scots pine. The forests in the case study region have multiple uses. Many owners in the study area use their property for purposes other than forestry, and the whole area is heavily used for recreation. There is conflict between nature management, including large grazers, and timber production goals in parts of the area. Under current conditions, beech is expected to increase in large parts of the area. However, increased drought under climate change might lead to a loss of beech, in favor of coniferous species. The combination of changing climate with an increase share of coniferous species will lead to increased risk of fire. Furthermore, climate change might lead to the decline or loss of specific components of biodiversity.




Response to the challenge

Increased attention to risky situations with regard to fire calls for management actions on a landscape scale. Owners and managers will need to co-operate more closely to avoid or minimize areas with high fire risk. The survival of beech in the area might be facilitated by bringing in genetic material from stands that are currently growing in drier conditions, for example from France. In order to protect specific (forest) species, knowledge is needed on the exact requirements of these species. Forest management might be adapted to influence the microclimate to minimize expected climate change impacts. Such measures could include choosing different tree species, or keeping the forest more dense. Probably no general solution is possible to solve conflicts between different uses and goals of the forest. These should be solved case by case, involving changes in management strategies and perhaps also a change in goals.


Who will carry on the research and what models are applied

The landscape model LandClim is used to investigate large-scale effects of climate change on forest stand development and to develop and evaluate adaptive forest management strategies. The model was developed to assess the importance of climatic effects, wildfire and management on historical and future forest dynamics. The other model (FORGEM) will be used to simulate selected forest stands in the study area to test effects of introducing new genetic material.

This case study is lead by Alterra Wageningen UR and contact persons are Sandra Clerkx (sandra.clerkx(at) and Mart-Jan Schelhaas (martjan.schelhaas(at) Modelling is done by Markus Didion (markus.didion(at)


Where the case study is situated, who owns the land

The case study is part of the Veluwe, an extensive forest area of 100,000 ha located in the centre of the Netherlands. The case study is about 8,250 ha in size, dominated by coniferous forests. Conservation agencies (Natuurmonumenten and Geldersch Landschap) own about three quarters of the land. The municipality of Rheden, the State Forest Service and two estates (Twickel and Middachten) each own between 4 and 7%. Conservation of natural and cultural history is the main objective for the largest part of the land in the South-East Veluwe, while timber production is important especially for the estates. The high recreational pressure and the effects of (over-) grazing are the main management concerns currently.

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