Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Windstorm impacts on European forest-related systems: An interdisciplinary perspective

Romagnoli, Federica; Cadei, Alberto; Costa, Maximiliano; Marangon, Davide; Pellegrini, Giacomo; Nardi, Davide; Masiero, Mauro; Secco, Laura; Grigolato, Stefano; Lingua, Emanuele; Picco, Lorenzo; Pirotti, Francesco; Battisti, Andrea; Locatelli, Tommaso; Blennow, Kristina; Gardiner, Barry; Cavalli, Raffaele


Windstorms are considered the main disturbing abiotic agent in European forests. They affect a multiplicity of forest-related dimensions, such as forest ecology, forest operations, geomorphology, economy, and socio-cultural aspects. Due to the complex dynamics set off by windstorms, the design of post-windstorm forest management should be characterized by an interdisciplinary approach able to address multiple environmental and social needs. However, scientific literature investigating the impacts of windstorms on forests appears mainly focused on specific aspects. An interdisciplinary and more comprehensive approach is needed to cope with such multifacet phenomena and to address future forest research. We reviewed current literature analyzing consequences of windstorms on European forests focusing on interconnections and cascade effects among forest-related dimensions in post-windstorm dynamics. We performed an in-depth review of 111 articles to detect most recurrent direct and indirect impacts as well as cascade effects among ecological, geomorphological, operational, economic, socio-cultural, and institutional forest-related dimensions. Our analysis aimed at providing a detailed analysis of the state of the art of windstorm impacts on European forests reported in literature, and suggesting an innovative approach to analyze windstorm consequences at a systemic level to acquire a comprehensive overview of post-windstorm dynamics. Our results showed that most of the studies dealt with interactions among ecological components of forests, but links between ecology, geomorphology, and society have been poorly studied. These knowledge gaps reduce the comprehension of windstorm impacts in the short and long terms and overlook the influence of societalrelated aspects in post-windstorm forest management. Moreover, our analysis suggested the need of a postwindstorm management acting at systemic and comprehensive level, supported by forest policies that promotes multifunctionality to overcome challenges derived by natural disturbances intensification.


European Forests; Windstorms; Systemic Mapping Review; Cascade Effects; Interdisciplinary Approach; Causal mapping

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2023, Volume: 541, article number: 121048

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)