Revisiting the functional zoning concept under climate change to expand the portfolio of adaptation options. 2021.


Climate change is threatening our ability to manage forest ecosystems sustainably. Despite strong consensus on the need for a broad portfolio of options to face this challenge, diversified management options have yet to be widely implemented. Inspired by functional zoning, a concept aimed at optimizing biodiversity conservation and wood production in multiple‐use forest landscapes, we present a portfolio of management options that intersects management objectives with forest vulnerability to better address the wide range of goals inherent to forest management under climate change. Using this approach, we illustrate how different adaptation options could be implemented when faced with impacts related to climate change and its uncertainty. These options range from establishing cological reserves in climatic refuges, where self‐organizing ecological processes can result in resilient forests, to intensive plantation silviculture that could ensure a stable wood supply in an uncertain future. While adaptation measures in forests that are less vulnerable correspond to the traditional functional zoning management objectives, forests with higher vulnerability might be candidates for transformative measures as they may be more susceptible to abrupt changes in structure and composition. To illustrate how this portfolio of management options could be applied, we present a theoretical case study for the eastern boreal forest of Canada. Even if these options are supported by solid evidence, their implementation across the landscape may present some challenges and will require good communication among stakeholders and with the public.