Adapting Tropical Production Forests to Global Climate Change: Risk Perceptions and Actions
As sustainable forest management is threatened by climate change, adaptation measures may be needed to maintain the productive capacity of tropical forests. Yet the extent to which foresters across the tropics implement adaptation actions in anticipation to climate change impacts remains largely unexplored. In this paper, an assessment of the perceptions of climate risks and the implementation of adaptation actions by forest managers and decision makers dealing with natural and planted tropical forests destined for production purposes is presented. An electronic questionnaire was disseminated globally during 2009, and 152 responses were received from Africa, the Americas, and Asia and the Pacific. Respondents perceived that natural and planted forests are at risk from being affected by climate change. However, they seemed ambivalent when asked if investing in adaptation was currently justified. The results of this survey provide initial insights into how climate considerations are being anticipated in tropical forest management and planning yet further examination at the national and local levels is warranted on how foresters, including those from the tropics, perceive climate change risks and handle current uncertainties in order to take action. The fact that climate change ranked below other threats to forests such as commercial agriculture and unplanned logging nevertheless suggests that long-term forest planning and management is not perceived by respondents as viable given other major drivers of forest loss and degradation.