Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Changing forests to match changing climate

Project Acronym BACCARA

Title of project Biodiversity and climate change, a risk analysis

Research area Agriculture & Forestry (Forecasting forest diversity under the influence of climatic changes and the consequences for stability and productivity of forest ecosystems)

Contract No 226299

EU Contribution 2998 000 EURO

Start date January 2009

Duration 48 months


It is anticipated that change in climate will impact on forest biodiversity, both in terms of tree growth and in terms of changing the nature of pests and diseases as well as impacting on beneficial organisms. This project has as its main aim an understanding of the sciene base for developing tools allowing forest managers and policy makers to evaluate risk to European forest biodiversity as well as productivity loss under climate change. The scope of the project covers forest composition at multiple trophic levels. These include assemblages of forest symbionts (mycorrhiza), producers (key tree species), consumers (herbivores and pathogens) and their predators. It will result in a three dimensional risk assessment model linking climate change, functional diversity, and forest productivity:

The effect of climate change on forest biodiversity will be evaluated through better understanding of the ecological processes that shape species composition and are particularly sensitive to climate conditions. Forest species composition will correspond to the assemblage of tree species and both symbiotic and antagonistic species that can drive tree species composition. Climate conditions will include both average and extreme values of climatic variables (e.g. temperature, humidity and wind). The relationships between forest biodiversity and functioning will be elucidated through better understanding of the respective role of tree species richness and composition and by focussing on the biotic interactions between species. As the fundamental ecological hypothesis behind the diversity -productivity relationship is the optimal use of resources, resources production and consumption will be assessed across the various trophic levels.

Expected Impact:

The information gathered will enable predictions of the effect of climate change on forest productivity through changes in tree species composition to be predicted. As a result foresters will be able to assess risk in terms of potential forest productivity loss where hazards are regarded as changes in average and extreme climatic conditions. Although the project will deliver generic scientific outcomes these should allow generalization that can be extended to cover the diverse range of European forests. As a result foresters and policy makers will have an increased information base on which to plant future forestation plans, while existing systems will be able to determine possible changes in the economic value of their investments.

Expected Results:

The project is expected to produce two sets of guidelines covering different topics aimed at different targets. The first set will cover the selection of tree species required to sustain wood production overcoming any possible effects of climate change. This guideline will provide a flexible framework indicating ‘What-To-Grow’. It will be aimed at forest managers and cover various climate change scenarios, forest categories and expected products. It will help managers to choose at the stand level the tree species to maintain, to introduce or to neglect. A summary report targeting policy makers will be extracted from the guidelines. This will be designed to help politicians to initiate measures aimed at mitigating climate change impacts taking into account economic and societal issues, for instance by favouring the planting of particular tree species trough financial incentives.

A second document will cover the choice of pest and pathogen species to be monitored according to forest categories and for given climate change scenarios. It will be presented as a guideline covering ‘What-To-Combat’. This guideline will address international, national and regional organisations that are involved in monitoring forest health. Lists of local pests and pathogens will be based on functional groups determined by the project on the basis of investigations of their life histories. The information gathered will enable identification of the pests and pathogens likely to become more important in terms of damage in the forest as a result of adapting to or becoming enhanced by climate change. These guidelines will allow involved agencies to focus attention on potential emerging pest and pathogen threats. They will also provide predictive maps indicating possible pests and pathogens expansions due to climate change. The documents will also be considered as recommendations for landscape planning taking into consideration forest areas at risk due to climate change.

Website of


Coordinator Hervé Jactel,


National Institute of Agricultural research, France,


Alterra BV, The Netherlands,

CAB International , UK,

National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and Forestry, France

Council for Scientific Investigation, Spain,

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland,

INRA Transfert, France,

Forestry Research Institute Badawczy LeĊ›nictwa, Poland,

Peking University, China,

Royal Holloway and Bedford New College , UK,

Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Sweden,

University of Tuscany, Italy,

University of Padova, Italy,

University of Zürich, Switzerland,

University of Aberdeen, UK,

Freiburg University, Germany,