Future of Forests – Dramatic Impacts of Climate Change

Falling Walls Circle Tables are lending the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

In this Falling Walls Circle Table, the panel discusses the many threats facing the future of forests, and what we can do to protect the world’s Forests from our changing climate. As Marcus Lindner explains, “we can’t plan for certainty for the future. We always have to expect surprises.”

Forests provide many invaluable services, from ecosystems to carbon sinks. These are under threat, as forests are already facing increasing hazards, whether that’s through drought, fire, or spreading pests. Where once these could be seen as unexpected incidents, such challenges for the future of forests are increasingly considered inevitable.

Forests are incredibly diverse, so there can be no ‘one size fits all’ solution. In general, strategies must help forests recover after challenges, but also build in resilience. This ranges from thinning trees to provide better short term resistance to careful long term introduction of new species. Such strategies may mean shifting the motivation of forestry, so that it places as much value on forests’ many services and the future on forests as it does on wood production.

An award-winning journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting from five continents. I cover science, society, travel, history, politics, cycling and more. Has written for a wide variety of publications, from Architect and Bicycling to National Geographic, The New York Times, Rouleur, Science and Wired. A contributing editor at Archaeology.

Professor of Silviculture at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources at Freiburg University, Germany, since 2003.


From 1996 to 2003 he worked at the Australian National University. His research on dynamics and management of structure and composition of forests, carbon and nutrient cycles, ecological interactions in mixed-species forests, as well as the adaptation of forests to global change. He published several books and more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy at the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. For his scientific accomplishments he received in 2014 the IUFRO scientific achievement award.

Dr. Marcus Lindner is Principal Scientist in the Resilience Programme at the European Forest Institute. He has over 25 years of experience in research on climate change impacts and the development of response strategies in forest management, forest sector sustainability assessment and biomass resource assessments from European forests. Dr. Lindner has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, many of them highly cited (H- Index Scopus: 35). He recently coordinated the Forest Europe Expert Group on Adaptation to Climate Change, led the European Innovation Partnership Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri) Focus Group 24 on Forest Practices and Climate Change and is a current member of the Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Lindner has extensive experience of working at the science-policy-practice interface and was involved in several policy support studies for the European Commission, most recently in the Evaluation study of the forestry measures under Rural Development and the Evaluation of the Forestry Strategy.

Prof. A. Huth is working on forests, climate change and ecological modelling for more than 25 years. He is Professor at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research –UFZ Leipzig and leading a research group there. He is also Prof. at University of Osnabrueck and member of the “German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research – idiv”. His research group have developed several dynamic models for vegetation (e.g. forest model FORMIND) which have been applied in many regions of the world (tropical and temperate forests). He analyzed fragmentation and disturbed forest in the tropics. A. Huth studied Physics and Ecology in Berlin and Marburg.

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