Forests are a bulwark against many climate-related disasters, Source: City of Stuttgart

Stuttgart planning to prepare forests for climate change

Stuttgart planning to prepare forests for climate change

According to a recent proposal, a forest’s main function for the city should be climate resilience

On Tuesday, city authorities in Stuttgart, Germany, announced they are going to change their approach to managing forests with a heavy emphasis on climate resilience. The shift was proposed by Technical Mayor Dirk Thürnau to the city’s Forest Advisory Board (Über den Waldbeirat) and it aims to promote biodiversity in the local forestry.

Specifically, the proposal focuses on maintaining different tree species, so forests have a stronger chance to withstand the changing climate.

The main point of the idea is to change the way the city manages local forests. Instead of a space for recreation and wood harevesting, authorities should start to recognize them as a bulwark for some of the worst effects of climate change, such as desertification, flood and soil protection. All other uses should be secondary.

Managing forests for climate resilience

Forests are extremely important flood and erosion barriers and using the next ten years to get them ready for a shift in climate conditions could have major impact on the quality of life Europe. This is why Stuttgart is trying to act sooner rather than later.

Technical Mayor Thürnau explained that science can roughly estimate the emerging climate changes, as well as what trees will be more suited for what is to come. However, it is hard to know for sure and one of the best ways to prepare is to make Stuttgart’s forest as diverse as possible when it comes to tree species in the smallest area.

Dr Claudia Kenntner, head of the city’s forest authorities said that increasing tree variety will require more dedicated forest management efforts. She gave an example with the beech tree, that would displace most other species if left unchecked.  

According to Dr Kenntner, the beech tree grows much faster than other species but it is not climate resilient.



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