Reforestation challenges in Southeast Europe facing climate change

  • Vladan Ivetić University of Belgrade - Faculty of Forestry
  • Jovana Devetaković University of Belgrade - Faculty of Forestry
Keywords: Climate Change, Assisted Migration, Seedling Quality, Planting, Seedling Protection, Seedling Field Performance


Projections of the regional climate model for Southeast Europe generally predict an increasing of temperature and a decrease in precipitation, with some local variations. Higher frequency of extreme weather events and increased flooding can also be expected. This climate change will, among other things, result in changes in habitats and species distribution, and a decrease in biodiversity. In most cases, forest ecosystems will be unable to adapt fast enough to keep pace with changes in climate. Extreme weather events and low precipitation during the growing season will cause high mortality of seedlings after planting. New forests will face the whole range of these changes because of the long lifetime of trees. Reforestation programs must take projections of climate change into consideration. In the long term, new guidelines for site-species matching, provenance selection, and genetic diversity need to be adopted. In the short term, site preparation, planting techniques, and post planting protection need to be improved. In addition, seedling quality (morphological, physiological, and genetic) and planting time need to be specific for each site. New site preparation, planting, and post-planting protection methods are useful tools for short term success measured in seedling survival and initial growth. Seedling quality is essential for short and long term success. Different strategies, such as assisted migration and increased genetic diversity of planting material, can provide better chances for long term success measured in growth, fitness, and capability to produce the next, better adapted generation.


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