From: University of Freiburg
Published June 30, 2017 05:27 PM

The Black Forest and Climate Change

As the climate change progresses, droughts are expected to become more and more common and more intense in Europe, as in many parts of the globe. However, many plants are not able to handle this kind of climate.

This includes the Norway spruce, which is Germany's most important commercial tree species and accounts for the majority of trees in the Black Forest. Valentia Vitali and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhusfrom the Chair of Silviculture at the University of Freiburg are thus studying other types of needle-leaved conifers to find alternatives. Conifers play a far greater role in commercial forestry and climate protection than broad-leaved trees. In their article "Silver Fir and Douglas Fir Are More Tolerant to Extreme Droughts than Norway Spruce in South-Western Germany" published in the journal Global Change Biology, the scientists concluded that the native silver fir and the Douglas fir, which was imported from the Americas, are suitable tree replacements for the Norway spruce in the long run.

Extreme droughts are believed to be one of the greatest challenges of climate change facing commercial forestry in the medium term, the researchers said. In their study of how forests in Central Europe might adjust to climate change, Vitali and Bauhus studied the past growth of more than 800 trees at different altitudes in the Black Forest. 

Continue reading at University of Freiburg

Photo: Like many areas in Central Europe, large parts of the Black Forest are covered by spruce forests. These are particularly susceptible to climate change. Credits: Jürgen Bauhus

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