In the RedBosques project, we developed a method to characterise forest maturity, by means of which stands with a high degree of naturalness have been identified throughout Spain.
We have applied the vulnerability index to this collection of stands and compared the results with the application to the plots of the National Forest Inventory (IFN3).
The comparison shows that there are differences between the drought risk values of the IFN3 plots (which would represent the situation of the average forest in Spain) and the RedBosques stands (which collect information from a selection of more mature stands).
Forests with a lower vulnerability to drought have a greater diversity of functional traits and greater structural complexity. These attributes are characteristic of forest maturity, which would make these forests less vulnerable to drought.
These results suggest that forest management aimed at reducing climate change risks should consider promoting forest diversity and heterogeneity as a way to reduce vulnerability to major droughts. For Spanish speakers, at our first Webinar, Lluis Comas from CREAF made a comprehensive presentation about the topic.