An operational guideline to enhance forest resilience

The increasing need of finding ways to adapt forest ecosystems and the forest value chain to cope with the challenge of climate-induced disturbances and stressors has prompted us researchers to develop a common framework for assessing resilience. To make this framework as inclusive as possible, we have been looking for a common procedure to be applied from different perspectives (i.e. ecological and socio-economical). This also implied that we needed to develop operational procedures which allow comparisons across time, space, and socio-economic contexts, as well as identify predictors enhancing forest resilience.

As part of the RESONATE Project we have elaborated on an operational guidance called Operational Resilience Framework (ORF) which provides (1) a unified terminology for resilience-related concepts that can be applied under different perspectives and disciplines, and (2) an operational way to address the assessment of resilience in forest ecosystems and the forest value chain, when confronting disturbances or stressors.

The ORF is based on several basic concepts, by which the forest socio-ecological system is described by a set of indicators, distinguishing system variables and resilience predictors, which statistically and functionally forecast the behaviour of the system. The ORF also includes as key components: (1) regime of disturbance(s)/stressor(s), (2) a reference state, (3) temporal and spatial scale, (4) metrics used to measure resilience, and (5) co-drivers. The reliability of this framework has been supported by an extensive literature review of 255 studies where the different components can be identified and assessed.

We will apply this framework to the RESONATE case studies and other tasks describing past and future patterns of resilience, as well as to the implementation of policies related to the European forest value chain. Importantly, the vocation of this operational guideline is that it will eventually constitute a sound base for forest managers and value chain decision makers when assessing resilience and taking actions to promote it.

You can find more information on the ORF here.