Climate change affects forests both directly and indirectly through disturbances. Disturbances are a natural and integral part of forest ecosystems, and climate change can alter these natural interactions. When disturbances exceed their natural range of variation, the change in forest structure and function may be extreme. Each disturbance affects forests differently. Some disturbances have tight interactions with the species and forest communities which can be disrupted by climate change. Impacts of disturbances and thus of climate change are seen over a board spectrum of spatial and temporal scales. Future observations, research, and tool development are needed to further understand the interactions between climate change and forest disturbances. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.