Most suggestions for adapting forest management in times of rapid global change have focused on tree regeneration, mortality, and productivity under predicted future climates. Adaptation to other aspects of global change, such as invasive species or changes in social settings, has received much less attention, which may be partially due to the high unpredictability of such events. Based on a review of recent silvicultural practices and ecological theory with a special emphasis on complex adaptive systems, we propose three guidelines for increasing the likelihood that forests will provide desired levels of a variety of ecosystem services in an increasingly variable and uncertain future. Basically, the guidelines promote a system level instead of the traditional command and control approach (sensu Holling and Meffe 1996) to silviculture. They are based on the well-supported ecological notions that having a high diversity and redundancy of key elements that are well connected across spatial, temporal, and organizational scales will allow forests to adapt on their own in response to predictable and unpredictable perturbations without the need for major management interventions. The guidelines encourage the maintenance of stand structural and compositional diversity at multiple spatial and temporal scales, thus reinforcing cross-hierarchical interactions in ecosystems, with an emphasis on encouraging self-organization. We provide examples of silvicultural practices as they relate to these guidelines.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3-4