Future forest monitoring in the European Union – Conference in Uppsala, Sweden 11–12 November 2009

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) which e.g. manages the national forest inventory, has taken the initiative to this Conference to be held at SLU premises in Uppsala, Sweden, during two full days 11–12 November 2009. About 100–150 participants are expected. Additionally several national, EU and international bodies involved in forest monitoring, assessments and policy are expected to support the Conference.


Demands on European forests will become stronger and spatially more diversified. This is also the case for the wood production due to e.g. the growing market for renewable energy and the general globalisation of the forest market. Decision-makers and stakeholders in the EU and the member states must be provided with the necessary information on forests and forest ecosystems to be able to balance production of wood and other traditional non-wood resources vis-à-vis biodiversity and forest ecosystem services. Furthermore the European forest ecosystems, like forests globally, must be adaptively managed to protect the forest ecosystems from a number of threats which in several cases can be expected to increase with a changed climate (invasive alien/pest species, storms, forest fires, air pollution etc.). The ongoing urban sprawl and building of transport infrastructure must be planned to minimise further fragmentation.

Establishing an efficient European forest monitoring should build upon existing monitoring programmes, which need to be harmonised and strengthened. National forest inventories need to be streamlined to deliver comparable data on the European level. This should build upon activities towards common standards for reporting and monitoring initiated by the forest resource reporting to UNECE/FAO, the Ministerial Conferences for the Protection of Forest in Europe (MCPFE), the ICP Forests monitoring of effects of air pollution in the context of the UN Convention on Long-Range Transported Air Pollution (CLRTAP), the EU Commission DG JRC (European Forest Data Centre), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European National Forest Inventory Network (ENFIN).

The trend towards multifunctional forest management also requires an integration with other activities collecting information on the European forests such as satellite data (cf. the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, GMES) and projects aiming at a long-term ecological research network in Europe. Furthermore voluntary monitoring programmes, of biological diversity, such as the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme is increasingly being organised to deliver information relevant for EU polices.

The wider role of the forest ecosystems and the trend towards multifunctional management will also require additional information. This information will need to be identified with respect to international commitments, as those indicated above but also e.g. the UN Conventions on Climate Change and on Biological Diversity, and EU legislation such as the Habitats and Bird Directives, the Water Framework Directive, measures against forest fires but also emerging policies for issues like renewable energy, land use planning, control of alien invasive species. Much of the future policy discussions relevant to European forests will be carried out in the context of a changing climate.

Prof. Göran Ståhl, SLU (Chair Organisation Committee), e-mail: Goran.Stahl@srh.slu.se
Dr Tor-Björn Larsson (Project leader), e-mail: Tor-Bjorn.Larsson@srh.slu.se

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