The Norwegian Environment Agency has asked Norwegian researchers to investigate what happens to the Norwegian forest until the year 2100 when the climate changes. Today they got the answer, in one Report Which portends dire consequences for the forest.
The normal speed at which trees grow will not be able to keep pace with the speed of climate change.
Norwegian forests will be increasingly affected by instability in the coming decades. The report notes that new strategies that take into account the speed and extent of climate change are necessary to take care of forests.
It’s no longer about how much time we have, nor about how late we are, says Keri Cosrud, Professional Lead for the Reporting Project.
The forest is a large part of the Norwegian landscape. About 40 percent of Norway’s land area is covered with forests.
– The report provides new information about how climate change is affecting Norwegian forests, says Environmental Director Elaine Hambro.
This is because all years are now compared to new normal conditions, ie the average weather in the 30-year period 1991-2020. These thirty years were unusually very hot. So most other years are cooler than usual.
Until recently, researchers used the natural period of 1961-1990. During these years it was relatively cold. It’s been a while since the 1960s, and the new normal allows us to compare the weather to the (normal) climate that people actually experience today.
The normal period is defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is used in all countries. In this way, we can compare the weather in Norway with other countries and we can measure changes around the world.
There are hundreds of thermometers around Norway. They are read at regular times and are collected and checked by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
In some places it is close between the measuring stations, in others there is a greater distance. Using statistical methods, meteorologists can give the measurements different weights, so that all parts of the country have the same significance:
The country is divided into 1 * 1 kilometer roads and meteorologists then calculate one temperature for each route. Then they can again calculate a number for the entire country, or a province, or for an entire month or year.
It will have positive effects in the short term
Trees such as pine, fir and birch, also known as boreal trees, are likely to benefit from global warming in the short term, but the impact is likely to decrease or reverse as warming continues, the report said.
– Some plants, for example, as temperatures rise and precipitation increases, will improve to a certain point, says Kosrud.
Norway’s landscape with mountains, fjords and rivers can be an advantage in the face of negative climatic influences. It can contribute to forest fires The pests do not spread over very large areas.
On the other hand, both diverse landscapes and man-made obstacles such as roads, railways, buildings and grazing areas will make it difficult for species to move, which due to climate change will be forced to find new places to live.
The negative effects will increase over time
Climate-related extremes are likely to result in reduced plant growth, increased mortality and the loss of many important species, the report notes.
The negative effects of extreme weather events may increase over time. The Norwegian Environment Agency wrote in a press release that incidents such as drought, forest fires, plant diseases and the infestation of parasites and other pests can cause significant damage to the forest, affecting both nature and timber production.
Global warming could, among other things, reduce the pine, fir and birch trees, where these trees thrive today.
These trees won’t have time to move as their habitats disappear, says Cosrud.
critical to preserving forest diversity
Preserving natural ecosystems and ensuring their sustainable use in a way that appears to be working well is essential to the human future.
This is what he says Norwegian Action Plan for Biodiversitywhich was presented in 2015. The plan includes three main objectives for the Ministry of Climate and Environment.
- Ecosystems must be in good condition and provide ecosystem services.
- No species and habitats should be eliminated, and the development of endangered and near-extinct species and habitats should be improved.
- A representative selection of Norwegian nature will be preserved for future generations.
The report also considers measures that can contribute to resilience to climate change in order to achieve national biodiversity targets.
“If we don’t get this under control very quickly, I think it would be a change beyond what anyone could possibly have imagined,” says Keri Cosrud.
Good contrast in the forest, for example by planting several different types of trees, is among the measures that can help make it more robust in the face of climate change.
We are concerned that the future management of forests must be based on good knowledge of climate risks and the need for climate adaptation. Elaine Hambro says that it will be important to consider the factors that contribute to making a forest more resilient to climate change in forest management.
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