Climate change and adaptive management discussed in ThinkForest

The science-policy discussion underlined the importance of forests in the EU adaptation strategy. As forests are very sensitive to climate change, climate change will increase the risk of forest disturbances. At the same time the societal demands on the provisioning of different forest products and services are increasing. Finding the balance between these two makes adaptation to climate change especially challenging for the forest sector. Raising awareness about climate change among the 16 million forest owners in Europe is crucial, as understanding climate change impacts helps to create willingness to adapt forest management practices.

During the discussion, Mr. Kriton Arsenis (Member of the European Parliament) underlined that the European Parliament has voiced a strong need to take more ambitious steps to secure forest protection. The parliamentarians had requested that the Commission should strengthen the policies e.g. related to improved forest fire prevention. Mr. Ernst Schulte (European Commission, DG Environment) responded that they recognize the importance of the matter and that the revised Forest Strategy and a forthcoming Action Framework 2014 will strongly address the need for adaptation to climate change in forests and the importance of mainstreaming different European policies to support better adaptation to climate change.

Ms. Rosario Bento Pais (European Commission, DG Climate Action) stated that the EU Adaptation Strategy sets out a framework and actions for taking the EU's preparedness for current and future climate impacts to a new level. Bridging knowledge gaps, mainstreaming adaptation action into EU policies and making use of funding opportunities under the LIFE+ instrument are all aspects of the strategy that are relevant to forests and the forestry sector.

The ThinkForest seminar "Climate Change in European Forests: How to Adapt" was facilitated by EFI and organised in collaboration with the European Parliament Intergroup on "Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development". The contents were mainly based on the FP7 project MOTIVE (Models for Adaptive Forest Management).

Further information is available from Dr. Marc Palahí, Deputy Director, European Forest Institute and from the event website.

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Photos: Maria Jalavisto/EFI

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