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Preparing for climate change: Forestry and assisted migration

Formally Refereed
Authors: Mary I. Williams, R. Kasten Dumroese
Year: 2013
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Source: Journal of Forestry. 111(4): 287-297.


Although plants have moved across the landscape in response to changing climate for millennia, projections of contemporary climate change suggest that forest tree species and populations will need to migrate faster than their natural ability. Therefore, climate change adaptation strategies, such as assisted migration, have gained attention since 2007. Effective implementation of assisted migration can only occur if target transfer guidelines are developed because our current seed transfer guidelines, established to guide the movement of plant materials, lack inherent spatial and temporal dynamics associated with climate change. This limitation restrains reforestation practitioners from making decisions about assisted migration. Lack of operating procedures, uncertainties about future climate conditions, risks associated with moving plants outside their current ranges, and existing policies have hampered formal actions in forest management and conservation. We review the current thinking on assisted migration of forest tree species and provide information that could facilitate implementation.


assisted migration, climate change, forest management, seed transfer, seed zones


Williams, Mary I.; Dumroese, R. Kasten. 2013. Preparing for climate change: Forestry and assisted migration. Journal of Forestry. 111(4): 287-297.