Forests and parks – Adaptation


Local forests and parks play an important role in mental and physical well-being. With regard to forests and parks, adaptation needs related to climate change are mainly connected to maintaining the living environment of the local residents healthy and comfortable. In addition to storms and downpours, the condition of forests and parks may be threatened by periods of drought. Moreover, changes in recreational habits may increase the strain on recreational areas.

Warming climate prolongs the growth season slightly

Growth of the Finnish forests is predicted to accelerate slightly as a consequence of climate change. However, if the climate warms several degrees, this also begins to increase growth losses caused by drought. The accelerated growth may expedite forests' maintenance needs and final cutting slightly.

Local forests and parks may be part of green corridors that enable the spread of plant and animal species to new areas as the climatic zones slowly move more north. Specific nature types and traditional biotopes may require more extensive maintenance measures than now.

Long hot summers increase erosion of parks

A prolonged summer season is estimated to increase the utilisation rate of parks and other recreational areas. This will increase soil erosion and other maintenance need. In some places, exceptional weather and climatic conditions, such as the soil becoming waterlogged and a shortening frost season, may impede maintenance measures in national parks and nature reserves as well as local recreational areas. Improving the infrastructure of parks is one means of adapting to the changes.

Parks into effective use in the draining of rain water

Disadvantages caused by extreme precipitation can be reduced by leading rain water into wetlands in park areas and to be absorbed in depressions. On the other hand, climate change is likely to increase periods of drought – something that should be prepared for when planning the maintenance of park areas. Easy means include making changes to the maintenance plans and gradually changing the species to ones that tolerate drought better. As the average temperatures rise and winters become milder, new species can gradually be tried out. On the other hand, this enables the spread of possible pests to new areas.

References [1], [2], [3]