The methodological framework of a large-scale risk assessment for Austrian forests under scenarios of climatic change is presented. A recently developed 3D-patch model is initialized with ground-true soil and vegetation data from sample plots of the Austrian Forest Inventory (AFI). Temperature and precipitation data of the current climate are interpolated from a network of more than 600 weather stations to the sample plots of the AFI. Vegetation development is simulated under current climate (‘control run’) and under climate change scenarios starting from today's forest composition and structure. Similarity of species composition and accumulated biomass between these two runs at various points in time were used as assessment criteria. An additive preference function which is based on Saaty’s AHP is employed to synthesize these criteria to an overall index of the adaptation potential of current forests to a changing climate. The presented methodology is demonstrated for a small sample from the Austrian Forest Inventory. The forest model successfully simulated equilibrium species composition under current climatic conditions spatially explicit in a heterogenous landscape based on ground-true data. At none of the simulated sites an abrupt forest dieback did occur due to climate change impacts. However, substantial changes occured with regard to species composition of the potential natural vegetation (PNV).