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Martin, T. A., Adams, D. C., Cohen, M. J., Crandall, R. M., Gonzalez-Benecke, C. A., Smith, J. A., et al. (2017). Managing Florida's plantation forests in a changing climate. In E. P. Chassignet, J. W. Jones, V. Misra, & J. Obeysekera (Eds.),
Florida's climate: Changes, variations, & impacts
(pp. 269–295). Gainesville, FL: Florida Climate Institute.
Production forestry provides substantial benefits to the state of Florida, including the provision of ecosystem services, such as regulation of water quantity and quality, provision of wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration, and supporting 80,000 jobs and $16.34 billion/year in economic activity. Climate through the end of the century in the production forestry regions of northern Florida and southern Georgia is predicted to result in substantial increases in potential loblolly pine and slash pine plantation productivity, ranging from 5–35% depending on emissions scenario, species, and location. Climate change is likely to affect the timing and frequency of abiotic disturbances, such as wildfire and windstorms, and will also change the dynamics of forest pests, pathosystems, and forest water resources. But predictions about the nature of these impacts remains uncertain. Regardless, the fact is that plantation forests have been a vital part of protecting regional water quantity and quality, and they will continue to be essential features of healthy productive landscapes, as climate changes and the potential for adverse climate impacts on water resources increases. The key to adapting forest management to changing climate will be the considered application of silvicultural tools, such as competition control, density and fertility management, and proper choice of species for each site. Keeping abreast of research advances related to these tools will be increasingly important for forest managers as climate conditions change. In addition, the development of viable policy options focused primarily on privately owned forests can help protect Florida’s existing forests and the benefits they provide, and encourage investment in reforestation of existing forestland and planting new forests on previously unforested land.
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