Research papers

Uncertainty assessment in climate change scenarios: a methodological proposal for management of forest ecosystem services


The work introduces a method to quantify potential impact of climate change on cultural ecosystem services in forests. The technique of Hesitant Fuzzy Linguistic Term Set is applied to face with the uncertainty due to climate change as well as subjective opinion of forest experts. Two forest management scenario (current practices as well as climate change-oriented silviculture) are investigated for different time horizons. Results highlight the increasing uncertainty on climate change impact evaluation related to longer time horizons. Potential losses connected to current cultural ecosystem services provision are quantified from spatial as well as economic viewpoint. The method is tested for an illustrative example in the Tuscany region - central Italy.


climate change-oriented silviculture; cultural ecosystem services; uncertainty evaluation

Full Text:




Bernetti I., Ciampi C., Fagarazzi C., Sacchelli S. 2011 - The evaluation of forest crop damages due to climate change. An application of Dempster–Shafer method. Journal of Forest Economics 17 (3): 285-297.

Bernetti I., Sottini V.A., Marinelli N., Marone E., Menghini S., Riccioli F., Sacchelli S., Marinelli A. 2013 - Quantification of the total economic value of forest systems: spatial analysis application to the region of Tuscany (Italy). Aestimum 62: 29-65.

Bordogna G., Pasi G. 1993 - A fuzzy linguistic approach generalizing boolean information retrieval: A model and its evaluation. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 44 (2): 70-82.

Brang P., Spathelf P., Larsen J.B., Bauhus J., Boncčìna A., Chauvin C., Drössler L., García-Güemes C., Heiri C., Manfred G.K., Lexer J., Mason B., Mohren F., Mühlethaler U., Nocentini S., Svoboda M. 2014 - Suitability of close-to-nature silviculture for adapting temperate European forests to climate change. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research 87 (4): 492-503.

Brunelli M., Fedrizzi M., Fedrizzi M. 2014 - Fuzzy m-ary adjacency relations in social network analysis: Optimization and consensus evaluation. Information Fusion 17: 36-45.

Cerroni S., Douglass Shaw W. 2012 - Does climate change information affect stated risks of pine beetle impacts on forests? An application of the exchangeability method. Forest Policy and Economics 22: 72-84.

Congressional Budget Office 2005 - Uncertainty in analyzing climate change: policy implications. U.S. Government Printing Office. [Online]. Available: [2019, February 2].

Cudlín P., Seják J., Pokorný J., Albrechtová J., Bastian O., Marek M. 2013 - Chapter 24 - Forest Ecosystem Services Under Climate Change and Air Pollution. In: “Developments in Environmental Science”, Matyssek R., Clarke N., Cudlin P., Mikkelsen T.N., Tuovinen J.P., Wieser G., Paoletti E., (Eds), Elsevier 13: 521-546.

Ding H., Nunes P.A.L.D. 2014 - Modeling the links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human wellbeing in the context of climate change: Results from an econometric analysis of the European forest ecosystems. Ecological Economics 97: 60-73.

Donlan C., Wingfield D.K., Crowder L.B., Wilcox C. 2010 - Using expert opinion surveys to rank threats to endangered species: A case study with sea turtles. Conservation Biology 24: 1586–1595.

Felton A., Gustafsson L., Roberge J.-M., Ranius T., Hjältén J., Rudolphi J., Lindbladh M., Weslien J., Rist L., Brunet J., Felton A.M. 2016 - How climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies can threaten or enhance the biodiversity of production forests: Insights from Sweden. Biological Conservation 194: 11-20.

Fenton N., Wang W. 2006 - Risk and confidence analysis for fuzzy multicriteria decision making. Knowledge-Based Systems 19 (6): 430-437.

Fox C.R., Poldrack R.A. 2014 - Appendix - Prospect Theory and the Brain. Editor(s): Glimcher P.W., Fehr E., Neuroeconomics (Second Edition), Academic Press: 533-567.

Gonzalez-Redin J., Gordon I.J., Hill R., Polhill J.G., Dawson T.P. 2019 - Exploring sustainable land use in forested tropical social-ecological systems: A case-study in the Wet Tropics. Journal of Environmental Management 231: 940-952.

Grêt-Regamey A., Brunner S.H., Altwegg J., Bebi P. 2013 - Facing uncertainty in ecosystem services-based resource management. Journal of Environmental Management 127: S145-S154.

Hanewinkel M., Hummel S., Albrecht A. 2011 - Assessing natural hazard in forestry for risk management: a review. European Journal of Forest Research 130 (3): 329–351.

Hemery G.E. 2008 - Forest management and silvicultural responses to projected climate change impacts on European broadleaved trees and forests. International Forestry Review 10 (4): 591-607.

Kangas A.S., Kangas J. 2004 - Probability, possibility and evidence: approaches to consider risk and uncertainty in forestry decision analysis. Forest Policy and Economics 6 (2): 169-188.

Kangas A., Korhonen K.T., Packalen T., Vauhkonen J. 2018 - Sources and types of uncertainties in the information on forest-related ecosystem services. Forest Ecology and Management 427: 7-16.

Keil M., Wallace L., Turk D., Dixon-Randall G., Nulden U. 2000 - Investigation of risk perception and risk propensity on the decision to continue a software development project. Journal of Systems and Software 53 (2): 145–157.

Knight F.H. 1921 - Risk, uncertainty and profit. New York: Hart, Schaffner and Marx.

INFC 2005 - Inventario Nazionale delle Foreste e di Serbatoi di Carbonio [National Forest Inventory]. [Online]. Available: [2019, February 10].

IPCC 2014 - Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (Eds.). IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland.

Lawrence A., Nicoll B. 2015 - Chapter 33 - Climate Impacts and Adaptations in Forest Management. In: “Climate Change”, Editor: Letcher T.M. (Second Edition), Elsevier: 585-594, ISBN 9780444635242.

Lee H.S. 2002 - Optimal consensus of fuzzy opinions under group decision making environment. Fuzzy Sets and Systems 132 (3): 303-315.

Lexer M.J., Hönninger K., Scheifinger H., Matulla C., Groll N., Kromp-Kolb H., Schadauer K., Starlinger F., Englisch M. 2002 - The sensitivity of Austrian forests to scenarios of climatic change: a large-scale risk assessment based on a modified gap model and forest inventory data. Forest Ecology and Management 162 (1): 53-72.

Lindner M., Garcia-Gonzalo J., Kolström M., Green T., Reguera R., Maroschek M., Seidl R., Lexer M.J., Netherer S., Schopf A., Kremer A., Delzon S., Barbati A., Marchetti M., Corona P. 2008 - Impacts of climate change on European forests and options for adaptation. Report to the European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development 173.

Lindner M., Fitzgerald J.B., Zimmermann N.E., Reyer C., Delzon S., van der Maaten E., Schelhaas M.J., Lasch P., Eggers J., van der Maaten-Theunissen M., Suckow F., Psomas A., Poulter B., Hanewinkel M. 2014 - Climate change and European forests: What do we know, what are the uncertainties, and what are the implications for forest management? Journal of Environmental Management 146: 69-83.

Liou T.S., Wang M.J.J. 1992 - Ranking fuzzy numbers with integral value. Fuzzy Sets and Systems 50 (3): 247-255.

Luo W.B., Caselton B. 1997 - Using Dempster–Shafer Theory to Represent Climate Change Uncertainties. Journal of Environmental Management 49 (1): 73-93.

Mardani A., Nilashi M., Zavadskas E.K., Awang S.R., Zare H., Jamal N.M. 2018 -Decision making methods based on fuzzy aggregation operators: Three decades review from 1986 to 2017. International Journal of Information Technology & Decision Making 17 (2): 391-466.

Martin T.G., Burgman M.A., Fidler F., Kuhnert P.M., Low-Choy S., Mcbride M., Mengersen K. 2012 - Eliciting expert knowledge in conservation science. Conservation Biology 26: 29–38.

Monge J.J., Daigneault A.J., Dowling L.J., Harrison D.R., Awatere S., Ausseil A.G. 2018 - Implications of future climatic uncertainty on payments for forest ecosystem services: The case of the East Coast of New Zealand. Ecosystem Services 33 (Part B): 199-212.

Munji C.A., Bele M.Y., Idinoba M.E., Sonwa D.J. 2014 - Floods and mangrove forests, friends or foes? Perceptions of relationships and risks in Cameroon coastal mangroves. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 140: 67-75.

Phillis Y.A., Andriantiatsaholiniaina L.A. 2001 - Sustainability: an ill-defined concept and its assessment using fuzzy logic. Ecological Economics 37 (3): 435-456.

Price J., Silbernagel J., Miller N., Swaty R., White M., Nixon K. 2012 - Eliciting expert knowledge to inform landscape modeling of conservation scenarios. Ecological Modelling 229: 76-87.

Ray D., Petr M., Mullett M., Bathgate S., Marchi M., Beauchamp K. 2017 - A simulation-based approach to assess forest policy options under biotic and abiotic climate change impacts: A case study on Scotland's National Forest Estate. Forest Policy and Economics,

Refsgaard J.C., Arnbjerg-Nielsen K., Drews M., Halsnæs K., Jeppesen E., Madsen H., Markandya A., Olesen J.E., Porter J.R., Christensen J.H. 2013 - The role of uncertainty in climate change adaptation strategies—A Danish water management example. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 18 (3): 337-359.

Rodríguez R.M., Martínez L. 2013 - An analysis of symbolic linguistic computing models in decision making. International Journal of General Systems 42 (1): 121-136.

Rodrìguez R.M., Martinez L., Herrera F. 2012 - Hesitant fuzzy linguistic term sets for decision making. IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems 20 (1): 109-119.

Rodríguez R.M., Martínez L., Torra V., Xu Z.S., Herrera F. 2014 - Hesitant fuzzy sets: state of the art and future directions. International Journal of Intelligent Systems 29 (6): 495-524.

Salicone S. 2007 - Measurement Uncertainty: an approach via the mathematical theory of evidence. Springer Science & Business Media. 228 p. ISBN 978-0-387-46328-5

Seidl R., Fernandes P.M., Fonseca T.F., Gillet F., Jönsson A.M., Merganicová K., Netherer S., Arpaci A., Bontemps J.D., Bugmann H., González-Olabarria J.R., Lasch P., Meredieu C., Moreira F., Schelhaas M.J., Mohren F. 2011 - Modelling natural disturbances in forest ecosystem: a review. Ecological Modelling 222: 903–924.

Sferlazza S., La Mela Veca D., Miozzo M., Fantoni I., Maetzke F. 2017 - Linee guida per la valutazione della resilienza delle foreste Mediterranee ai cambiamenti climatici [Guidelines for assessing the resilience of Mediterranean forests to climate change]. UNIPAPRESS New Digital Frontiers S.r.L. 131 p.

Shoyama K., Managi S., Yamagata Y. 2013 - Public preferences for biodiversity conservation and climate-change mitigation: A choice experiment using ecosystem services indicators. Land Use Policy 34: 282-293.

Sohn J.A., Saha S., Bauhus J. 2016 - Potential of forest thinning to mitigate drought stress: a meta-analysis. Forest Ecology and Management 380: 261-273.

Tobler P.N., Weber E.U. 2014 - Chapter 9 - Valuation for Risky and Uncertain Choices. Editor(s): Glimcher P.W., Fehr E., Neuroeconomics (Second Edition), Academic Press: 149-172.

Tong R.M., Bonissone P.P. 1980 - A linguistic approach to decisionmaking with fuzzy sets. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics 10 (11): 716-723.

Tuscany Region 2018 - GEOscopio, geographic information. [online]. Available: [2018, December 20].

Vauhkonen J., Packalen T. 2018 - Uncertainties related to climate change and forest management with implications on climate regulation in Finland. Ecosystem Services 33 (Part B): 213-224.

Wu Z., Xu J. 2016 - Managing consistency and consensus in group decision making with hesitant fuzzy linguistic preference relations. Omega 65: 28-40.

Yager R.R. 1988 - On ordered weighted averaging aggregation operators in multicriteria decisionmaking. IEEE Transactions on systems, Man, and Cybernetics 18 (1): 183-190.

Yager R.R. 1995 - An approach to ordinal decision making. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning 12 (3-4): 237-261.

Zadeh L.A. 1975 - The concept of a linguistic variable and its application to approximate reasoning. I-III Information Sciences 8 (1975): 199–251, 301–357; 9 (1976): 43–80.

Copyright (c) 2019 Sandro Sacchelli, Jacopo Bernetti, Augusto Marinelli

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License

All texts reported in and all materials directly downloadable from this page are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.