Risks and opportunities for forestry

Switzerland's present-day forests are only limitedly adapted to heat and drought and exposed to an increasing risk of natural events and forest fires. This has a negative impact on its economic, social and environmental services. In comparison, the positive impacts of climate change on the forest are less significant.

Natürliche Laubmischwälder neben gepflanzten Nadelholzbeständen


[R] Risks of climate change
[C] Opportunities due to climate change
[?] Areas for which a clear assessment is not yet possible

[R] Impairment of forest services

  • As a result of drought, pest infestation, forest fire and increasing natural events (especially rock fall, rockslides, debris flows) diminished wood production and quality, weakened protective effect, reduced recovery function,
  • Release large quantities of CO2 due to the destruction of wood stocks

[R] Decreased wood production in forestry

  • Increased damage to young trees due to heat
  • Increased damage due to periods of increased concentration of air pollutants

[R] Rising risk of forest fires

  • More frequent scarcity of water during periods of drought  

 [C] Positive effects on the forestry

  • Increased yields thanks to rising mean temperatures and a longer growth period
  • Decreasing damage due to snow pressure

[?] Uncertain impacts

  • Increase or decrease of storm damage to forests and the associated consequences for the forestry and forest products and services

Last modification 31.01.2019

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Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Reporting and Adaptation Section

Papiermühlestr. 172
3063 Ittigen


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Priority themes: Forest functions and climate change

Climate change affects the forest functions, forest health, the distribution of tree species and the forest as carbon sink. Recommendations for adapted forest management are being developed.