|Abstract/Description or Keywords
||Windthrow is all too often looked at as an exceptional, catastrophic phenomenon rather than a recurrent natural disturbance that falls within the spectrum of chronic and acute effects of wind on forests, and that drives ecosystem patterns and processes. This paper provides an integrative overview of the nature, contributing factors and impacts of wind-caused disturbance in forests, including its effects on trees, stands, landscapes and soils. Windthrow is examined through the integrating concepts of: the capacity of trees for acclimative growth, the limitation of acclimative growth under inter-tree competition, the recurrent nature of severe weather, how terrain and soil conditions affect local stand vulnerability and the effect of recurrent windthrow on stand dynamics and soils. Windthrow management should take place within a framework of general risk management, with evaluation of the likelihood, severity and potential impacts of wind damage considered – with reference to the broad and specific aims of management. There is much to be gained from interdisciplinary communication about the nature and consequences of recurrent wind damage. There are opportunities for climatologists, engineers, ecologists, geomorphologists and others to develop integrative process models at the tree, stand and landscape scales that will improve our collective understanding, and inform management decision-making.