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Selection: Schelhaas:M [20 articles] 

Publications by author Schelhaas:M.

Species-specific, pan-European diameter increment models based on data of 2.3 million trees

Forest Ecosystems, Vol. 5, No. 1. (3 April 2018),


[Background] Over the last decades, many forest simulators have been developed for the forests of individual European countries. The underlying growth models are usually based on national datasets of varying size, obtained from National Forest Inventories or from long-term research plots. Many of these models include country- and location-specific predictors, such as site quality indices that may aggregate climate, soil properties and topography effects. Consequently, it is not sensible to compare such models among countries, and it is often impossible to apply ...


Assessing risk and adaptation options to fires and windstorms in European forestry

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change In Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Vol. 15, No. 7. (10 July 2010), pp. 681-701,


Risks can generally be described as the combination of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Using this framework, we evaluated the historical and future development of risk of fire and wind damage in European forestry at the national level. Fire risk is expected to increase, mainly as a consequence of an increase in fire hazard, defined as the Fire Weather Index in summer. Exposure, defined as forest area, is expected to increase slightly as a consequence of active afforestation and abandonment of marginal ...


Unraveling the drivers of intensifying forest disturbance regimes in Europe

Global Change Biology, Vol. 17, No. 9. (September 2011), pp. 2842-2852,


Natural disturbances like wildfire, windthrow and insect outbreaks are critical drivers of composition, structure and functioning of forest ecosystems. They are strongly climate-sensitive, and are thus likely to be distinctly affected by climatic changes. Observations across Europe show that in recent decades, forest disturbance regimes have intensified markedly, resulting in a strong increase in damage from wind, bark beetles and wildfires. Climate change is frequently hypothesized as the main driving force behind this intensification, but changes in forest structure and composition ...


Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests

Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), aaf8957,


[Abstract] The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion ...


European forest ecosystems - State and trends

Vol. 5/2016 (21 March 2016),


[Executive summary] The importance of forests with regard to supporting human needs is considerable. [\n] Forests are rich in biodiversity and valuable for recreation, water regulation and soil protection. [\n] As well as for providing timber and other non-wood forest products, forests are important for mitigating climate change and for the renewable energy sector. [\n] Forest ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental, economic and social pressures that challenge their sustainability. The forest sector is influenced by the unprecedented pressures arising from climate change and the growing demands of society on natural resources. ...


  1. Agenda 21, 2016. , accessed 25 February 2016.
  2. Adams, M. A., 2013. Mega-fires, tipping points and ecosystem services: Managing forests and woodlands in an uncertain future. Forest Ecology and Management, 294, 250–261. .
  3. Aggestam, F., Weiss, G., 2011. An updated and further elaborated policy database and a tested prototype of policy analysis interface for ToSIA, EFI Technical Report 38, European Forest Institute, Joensuu.

Destructive storms in European forests: past and forthcoming impacts



[Excerpt: Introduction] [::] Forest and other wooded land within Europe cover 42 % of the land area and have a wide range of ecological, social and economic functions that continue to grow in importance. [::] Wind storms have caused catastrophic damage to forests throughout history, but during the last century damage has increased markedly. Storms are now responsible for more than 50% of primary damage to European forests. [::] Much of the damage increase can be related to forest expansion and change. [::] Responses of foresters, ...


The wind stability of different silvicultural systems for Douglas-fir in the Netherlands: a model-based approach

Forestry, Vol. 81, No. 3. (2008), pp. 399-414,


The aim of this study was to evaluate different silvicultural systems for Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) in the Netherlands in terms of timber production and wind stability over a full rotation. This was done using the forest genetics, ecology, management and wind model (ForGEM-W), which combines a distant dependent tree growth simulator with a mechanical–empirical wind damage module. Six different silvicultural systems were evaluated: normal yield table management, free thinning from above in a monospecies and a mixed stand (50 ...


Climate change and European forests: what do we know, what are the uncertainties, and what are the implications for forest management?

Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 146 (2014), pp. 69-83,


[Highlights] [::] Uncertainty is inherent to climate change impact assessments. [::] Extreme events are only weakly represented in many assessments. [::] The range of possible impacts has so far been underestimated in most studies. [::] Some general trends are common to all climate projections. [::] Guidance is needed to interpret state-of-the-art knowledge and give helpful advice. [Abstract] The knowledge about potential climate change impacts on forests is continuously expanding and some changes in growth, drought induced mortality and species distribution have been observed. However despite a significant body ...


Living with storm damage to forests



Windstorms are a major disturbance factor for European forests. In the past decades wind storms have damaged standing forest volume which on a yearly average equals about the size of Poland's annual fellings. The evidence also indicates that the actual severity of storms in the wake of climatic changes may increase during the next decades. Windstorm damages have many environmental, economic and social implications. Consequently, it is important to try to prevent these damages, and better manage those which cannot ...


Forest summer albedo is sensitive to species and thinning: how should we account for this in Earth system models?

Biogeosciences, Vol. 11, No. 8. (29 April 2014), pp. 2411-2427,


Although forest management is one of the instruments proposed to mitigate climate change, the relationship between forest management and canopy albedo has been ignored so far by climate models. Here we develop an approach that could be implemented in Earth system models. A stand-level forest gap model is combined with a canopy radiation transfer model and satellite-derived model parameters to quantify the effects of forest thinning on summertime canopy albedo. This approach reveals which parameter has the largest affect on summer ...


Reconstructing European forest management from 1600 to 2010

Biogeosciences, Vol. 12, No. 14. (23 July 2015), pp. 4291-4316,


Because of the slow accumulation and long residence time of carbon in biomass and soils, the present state and future dynamics of temperate forests are influenced by management that took place centuries to millennia ago. Humans have exploited the forests of Europe for fuel, construction materials and fodder for the entire Holocene. In recent centuries, economic and demographic trends led to increases in both forest area and management intensity across much of Europe. In order to quantify the effects of these changes in forests and to provide a baseline for ...


A multicriteria risk analysis to evaluate impacts of forest management alternatives on forest health in Europe

Ecology and Society, Vol. 17, No. 4. (2012),


Due to climate change, forests are likely to face new hazards, which may require adaptation of our existing silvicultural practices. However, it is difficult to imagine a forest management approach that can simultaneously minimize all risks of damage. Multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) has been developed to help decision makers choose between actions that require reaching a compromise among criteria of different weights. We adapted this method and produced a multicriteria risk analysis (MCRA) to compare the risk of damage associated with ...


Assessing impacts of intensified biomass production and biodiversity protection on ecosystem services provided by European forests

Ecosystem Services, Vol. 9 (September 2014), pp. 155-165,


[Highlights] [::] We analyzed biophysical and economic impacts of European forest policy options. [::] We assessed impacts on multiple marketed and non-marketed ecosystem services. [::] Intensified forest biomass production decreases provisioning of other services. [::] Biodiversity protection enhances social benefits provided by European forest. [Abstract] To develop viable strategies for intensifying the use of forest biomass and for increasing forest protection, impacts on ecosystem services need to be assessed. We investigated the biophysical and economic impacts of increased forest biomass production and biodiversity protection on forest ...


Climate change may cause severe loss in the economic value of European forest land

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, No. 3. (23 September 2012), pp. 203-207,


European forests, covering more than 2 million km2 or 32% of the land surface1, are to a large extent intensively managed and support an important timber industry. Climate change is expected to strongly affect tree species distribution within these forests2, 3. Climate and land use are undergoing rapid changes at present4, with initial range shifts already visible5. However, discussions on the consequences of biome shifts have concentrated on ecological issues6. Here we show that forecasted changes in temperature and precipitation may have severe ...


Climate change and European forests: what do we know, what are the uncertainties, and what are the implications for forest management?

Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 146 (December 2014), pp. 69-83,


[Highlights] [::] Uncertainty is inherent to climate change impact assessments. [::] Extreme events are only weakly represented in many assessments. [::] The range of possible impacts has so far been underestimated in most studies. [::] Some general trends are common to all climate projections. [::] Guidance is needed to interpret state-of-the-art knowledge and give helpful advice. [Abstract] The knowledge about potential climate change impacts on forests is continuously expanding and some changes in growth, drought induced mortality and species distribution have been observed. However despite a ...


Increasing forest disturbances in Europe and their impact on carbon storage

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, No. 9. (3 August 2014), pp. 806-810,


Disturbances from wind, bark beetles and wildfires have increased in Europe’s forests throughout the twentieth century1. Climatic changes were identified as a key driver behind this increase2, yet how the expected continuation of climate change will affect Europe’s forest disturbance regime remains unresolved. Increasing disturbances could strongly impact the forest carbon budget3, 4, and are suggested to contribute to the recently observed carbon sink saturation in Europe’s forests5. Here we show that forest disturbance damage in Europe has continued to increase ...


Carbon profiles of typical forest types across Europe assessed with CO2FIX

Ecological Indicators, Vol. 1, No. 3. (March 2002), pp. 213-223,


This paper presents for 16 typical forest types across Europe a standard carbon sequestration profile. The study was carried out with the model CO2FIX which was parameterised with local yield table data and additional required parameters. CO2FIX quantifies the carbon of the forest ecosystem–soil–wood products chain at the stand level. To avoid misleading results annual net sequestration rates are not presented here, because these strongly fluctuate in time. Therefore, only its advancing mean is presented as a more reliable indicator. This ...


A forest management map of European forests

Ecology and Society, Vol. 17, No. 4. (2012),


Forest management to a large extent determines the possible services that the forest can provide. Different objectives in forest management determine the rotation length and valuation of different stages in forest succession. We present a method of mapping potential forest management at 1-km resolution to inform policy, land use modeling, and forest resource projections. The presented method calculates the suitability of a location to different forest management alternatives based on biotic, abiotic, socioeconomic, and political factors. A sensitivity analysis of the ...


Modelling natural disturbances in forest ecosystems: a review

Ecological Modelling, Vol. 222, No. 4. (26 February 2011), pp. 903-924,


Natural disturbances play a key role in ecosystem dynamics and are important factors for sustainable forest ecosystem management. Quantitative models are frequently employed to tackle the complexities associated with disturbance processes. Here we review the wide variety of approaches to modelling natural disturbances in forest ecosystems, addressing the full spectrum of disturbance modelling from single events to integrated disturbance regimes. We applied a general, process-based framework founded in disturbance ecology to analyze modelling approaches for drought, wind, forest fires, insect pests ...


Carbon accumulation in European forests

Nature Geoscience, Vol. 1, No. 7. (22 June 2008), pp. 425-429,


European forests are intensively exploited for wood products, yet they also form a sink for carbon. European forest inventories, available for the past 50 years, can be combined with timber harvest statistics to assess changes in this carbon sink. Analysis of these data sets between 1950 and 2000 from the EU-15 countries excluding Luxembourg, plus Norway and Switzerland, reveals that there is a tight relationship between increases in forest biomass and forest ecosystem productivity but timber harvests grew more slowly. Encouragingly, ...

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