An Economic Comparison of Adaptation Strategies Towards a Drought- induced Risk of Forest Decline

Drought is a source of stress that affects forest growth, resulting in financial losses for forest owners and amenity losses for society. Due to climate change, such natural events will be more frequent and intense in the future. In this context, the objective of this paper is to compare, from an economic perspective, different forest adaptation strategies towards a drought-induced risk of decline. For that purpose, we focused on a case study of a beech forest in Burgundy (France) and we studied several adaptation options: density reduction, reduction of the rotation length, and substitution with Douglas-fir. We also considered two levels of drought risk (intermediate and low soil water capacity) and two climate scenarios from the IPCC (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). We combined a process-based forest-growth simulator (CASTANEA) with a traditional forest economics approach. The results showed that adaptation provided the best economic return in most of the scenarios considered. Combining strategies appears as a relevant way to adapt forests in view of a drought-induced risk of forest decline. We also demonstrated the importance of considering two disciplinary fields. Beneficial scenarios in an ecological per- spective were not necessarily beneficial in an economic one and vice versa.


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