Climate scenarios predict for Switzerland until 2050 a general warming of 2°C. This warming is likely to feature moister winters, dryer summers and an increase of extreme weather events – hot spells like in summer 2003 could occur every few years. If these pojections become true, Swiss forests will be fundamentally altered by the direct effects of climate such as droughts, heat waves or storms. In addition, they will be affected by indirect effects such as diseases, pests or forest fires that may be even more significant than the direct effects. Large uncertainties still exist with respect to the degree and rate of the expected climatic changes. Nevertheless, forestry should not wait until absolute certainty arises, which will likely never be the case anyway. Forestry must act proactively, butin a cautious and scientifically sound manner. Based on the paradigm of adaptive forest management, we propose a concept for a stepwise alignment of forest management practices with the overall aim to increase the resistance and resilience of Swiss forests and to support ongoing early response processes. The measures proposed can be divided into 1) the analysis of the current state of the forests, 2) short-termed adaptation measures of forest management, and finally 3) the development of adapted management concepts that explicitly take into account climatic change.

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