Canadian Forest Service Publications

Barriers to enhanced and integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation in Canadian forest management. 2017. Williamson, T.B.; Nelson, H.W. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 47(12):1567-1576.

Year: 2017

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38932

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2017-0252

† This site may require a fee.


Forests are sensitive to the effects of climate change and play a significant role in carbon cycles. This duality has important implications for forest management in terms of requirements for enhanced and integrated adaptation and mitigation interventions. Two ideal conceptual level changes could provide the means for implementation. First, the incorporation of climate change considerations into definitions of sustainable forest management (SFM) would provide mandates for enhanced approaches. Second, the mainstreaming of enhanced SFM would facilitate implementation. There are, however, factors that may impede implementation. Identifying and evaluating these factors informs our understanding of requirements for adaptation and mitigation mainstreaming. This study reviews, organizes, and interprets the literature for the purposes of identifying and evaluating potential impediments. Harmonization barriers pertain to differences between adaptation and mitigation in preexisting frames and beliefs. Enabling barriers are psychological and institutional in nature. Implementation barriers include capacity deficits (e.g., funding limits, science and knowledge deficits regarding benefits, trade-offs, and synergies between adaptation and mitigation) and governance issues. Barriers are interrelated, dynamic, and subjective. Addressing barriers requires a holistic approach that recognizes the complex and dynamic nature of forest management policy change processes.

Plain Language Summary

Analysts have identified some reasons for including adaptation and mitigation in forest management. There is some potential for including adaptation and mitigation because they are essentially forest management activities that can be blended within existing frameworks. Nonetheless, there are some barriers (e.g., harmonization, enabling, and implementation barriers). Much effort will be needed to address and overcome these barriers. The following logical next steps for addressing barriers and moving forward include 1) incorporate adaptation and mitigation considerations into forest management objectives (e.g., incorporate climate change into definitions of sustainable forest management); 2) promote knowledge sharing, communication, and education about adaptation and mitigation in forest management (e.g., through partnerships among the scientific community, forest managers, and policy makers); and 3) introduce mainstreaming approaches that include adaptation and mitigation in forest management practices on a continuous basis. The findings of this research will aid forest managers in developing strategies and approaches to more effectively manage forests under a changing climate.

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