The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has produced this guidance document for forest managers to serve as a companion to the FAO's 2010 guidelines to support policy-makers. Its aim is to assist in better assessment and responses to climate change challenges and opportunities, by providing all kinds of forest managers with generic adaptation and mitigation actions which can then be tailored according to specific contexts.
The report begins by way of an introduction that covers its audience, scope and purpose. Climate change and its relationship with forestry is then reviewed, including climate processes and projections, adaptation and mitigation in a forestry context, and what this all means for forest managers. Sustainable forest management (SFM) for effective climate change responses is the subject of the next chapter, a universally accepted concept guiding forest policies around the world. The thematic elements recognised by SFM include: extent of forest resource; forest biodiversity; forest health and vitality; productive, protective and socioeconomic functions of forest resources; and the legal, policy, and institutional framework.
The report goes on to explain vulnerability and risk assessment to climate change impacts and mitigation options, before providing mitigation and adaptation guiding frameworks. Monitoring and evaluation is discussed in the final chapter, before the report ends with a number of broad conclusions:
Climate change is expected to affect: distribution and type of forest and trees; forest productivity; site and soil condition; food security; poverty alleviation; and livelihoods.
Changes can be expected in the severity and frequency of a range of risks, including wildfire, invasive species, insects, diseases, and climatic impacts.
Modifying management practices can help mitigate the impacts of climate change, both environmentally and socially.
SFM practices can help reduce forest and forest-dweller vulnerabilities through the provision of multiple services.
Climate change mitigation programmes are emerging to help meet the costs of GHG emissions reductions due to deforestation and forest degradation.
Cost-effectiveness of strategies should be considered, with the most contextually feasible option sought.
Monitoring and reporting systems are vital for responding to climate change, both as an early warning system for risks and as a useful measure for assessing strategies. This will require additional technical and human resources.