Experts on forestry and climate change in the Asia Pacific gathered to study the impacts of climate change and forest adaptation to gauge their perspectives on the effects of climate change, and challenges that the forestry sector faces in their adaptation efforts. The study also gathered recommendations from these experts on forest adaptation.
The scope of the study covers the five Asia-Pacific sub-regions: North America, East Asia, Oceania, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The regions have different climates ranging from the frozen tundra in the north to the tropics and subtropics towards the south and southeast Asia. It also covers various types of forests including boreal, temperate rain-forest, and deciduous forests.
The study asked the following questions: (i) What are the main impacts of climate change in the Asia-pacific regions, (ii) what climate change-related actions/policies are available, (iii) what are the challenges of adapting forestry to climate change, and (iv) how can current actions to adapt forestry to climate change be improved.
The answers to these research questions vary in each subregion, which the paper discussed thoroughly. These are some of the highlights:
- Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are ranked top three sectors most affected by climate change.
- Drought/forest fire and biodiversity change are considered a significant climate change impact in Oceania and Southeast, and East Asia. While pests outbreak and diseases spread is the most frequently indicated climate change impact in North America, followed by East Asia and Oceania.
- Respondents from all subregions said that there are climate initiatives and policies in place to address climate change. However, Oceania and North America show low satisfaction with their climate initiatives and policies, but in general, all subregions are somewhat satisfied with their forestry initiatives.
- The lack of public awareness and scientific guidance, particularly of understanding predicted climate change scenario that applies to the local area are perceived to be the greatest challenge in forestry adaptation in most subregions. In North America and Oceania, it the lack of action plans and legislation perceived to be a challenge to forestry adaptation.
- Most subregions expressed uncertainty with the availability of climate change models and its suitability in forest management planning.
Overall the study shows that climate change impacts differ in each region, and thus adaptation strategies and policies should be appropriated and contextualised for each area. The study also revealed that Asia-pacific has low accessibility to technology and information which constrains their capacity to adapt to climate change.
The information from the study should be helpful to organizations that are offering support and resources to the Asia-Pacific region in their climate adaptation efforts.
Before these regions could start adapting to climate change, they first need to understand the science behind climate change, its impacts on their forestry, economy and other sectors, plus they would need the technology, information and resources to adapt to climate change effectively.
To read the entire study, please click on the link below:
Wang, G., Mang, S.L., Riehl, B. et al. Climate change impacts and forest adaptation in the Asia–Pacific region: from regional experts’ perspectives. J. For. Res. 30, 277–293 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-018-0827-y