Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): James M. Guldin
    Date: 2019
    Source: New Forests
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (3.0 MB)


    Changing climatic conditions add a measure of uncertainty to sustainable forest management in forest ecosystems of the southern United States. Increasing temperatures and decreasing patterns of precipitation especially in the Mid-South suggest that water stress, drought, and changing patterns of natural disturbance events will challenge managers in the twenty-first century. Efforts to manage southern forest stands in the face of changing climatic conditions will require a diversity of approaches including tactics to promote genetic diversity in natural and planted stands, encouragement of species diversity as new stands develop, and considering ways to promote diverse stand structures that encourage recruitment of new age cohorts within stands on a regular basis. With predicted changes in climatic conditions, forest ecosystems across the South will respond in different ways, depending upon whether or not they are currently being managed. Unmanaged stands will change in unpredictable ways that reflect the absence of management. But in managed stands, silvicultural treatments are available for foresters to apply to respond and adapt to maintain productive forests adapted to those changing conditions. Finally, one approach often advocated to deal with this uncertainty is a strategy for assisted migration, in which species are established in locations beyond their current range, where predicted climatic conditions are likely to occur at some point in the future within which those species will survive. This is basically an exercise in artificial regeneration, but will likely be more complicated than simply planting a few exotic seedlings and hoping for the best. The technical and practical challenges of planting species at the margins or beyond their natural range include a lack of research support especially for species not commonly planted in the region. Moreover, planting is costly, and because of that, intensive practices are more likely on institutional and government lands rather than family forests. In the end, all of these concepts fall within the practice of silviculture, and are tactics with which the profession is

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Guldin, James M. 2019. Silvicultural options in forests of the southern United States under changing climatic conditions. New Forests. 50(1): 71-87.


    Google Scholar


    Climate change · Assisted migration · Adaptive management · Genetic diversity · Species diversity · Structural diversity · Southern pines

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page