FOSPREF-Wind – Wind risk to European forests under climate change
Coordinator: Tom Locatelli, Forest Research, UK
Collaborators: International collaboration network
Financer: European Forest Institute
Increasing levels of forest wind damage have been observed in the past 15 years in previously relatively unaffected areas of Europe (e.g. Northern Iberia, Poland, and Latvia). Similarly, the seasonality of damaging events appears to be changing, with strong summer storms becoming more common. These issues indicate that statistical models of wind damage are likely to fail in the face of a changing climate. Using process-based models allows for portability in space and time, to different locations and for uncertain climatic conditions.
European expertise in wind damage follows the historical geographical distribution of wind damage: forest productivity in northern countries has been affected for decades and mechanistic models such as ForestGALES have been developed in these countries to aid forest management practices. An ideal way of transferring this knowledge to countries exposed to increasing wind risk is provided by the recent developments in the availability of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) programming languages. These have prompted forest researchers to translate many of their models into FOSS languages such as R. The possibility now exists of coupling FOSS process-based forest growth and risk models within a FOSS GIS platform provided by the rapid development of QuantumGIS in recent years, thus removing operational and economic barriers between organisations. The commercial importance and widespread European distribution of species of the Pinus genus makes this an ideal candidate to test and apply a spatially explicit FOSS platform for the modelling of forest wind damage in a changing climate.