EFIMED advocates for forest research in the European Parlament
We reproduce below the summary report of the speech given by the EFIMED Head of Office:
“European forests require special attention”, Mr Palahí said. This is the home of numerous species and they are the most important ecological infrastructure in Europe playing a key role in the adaptability and resilience of our continent. “Their future is seriously endangered by rapid and drastic climate and land-use changes”. Forest area is increasing but extreme events like storms, fires etc undermine its potential as a provider of goods and services. We should therefore have a holistic approach of forests.
In this changing and complex environment, it is more than ever critical to base decisions on scientific knowledge. This requires science based information in the right format and scale, which can be disseminated to policy makers and managers. Achieving a fluent policy dialogue is therefore a prerequisite.
Despite its strong capacities, the European Research Community is too fragmented. This problem should be overcome if we want to unlock its full potential. We should also improve coordination and encourage concerted actions. There is a need to further mobilise existing capacities and to create new ones in a coordinated way. Likely important is the creation of synergies among research institutes.
As there is a lack of data on the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems, Mr Palahí supports the establishment of a long term and pan-European network on research experiments, which requires specific and long-term funding. Long term information is needed. To this end, we should build on the existing pan European structures such as the European Forest Institute and the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform. The latter is, in his view, the most important tool set up by the European Commission to improve coordination among the different stakeholders, enabling the development of transnational forestry agendas.
There are three crucial topics on the European forest agenda to address global change challenges:
· Improve the information on the ecosystems functioning and theirs changes due to climate change.Moreover, Mr Palahí defended the idea of a science policy dialogue. The Mediterranean Forest Week bringing together policy makers, stakeholders and scientists contributes to this goal. He added that the European Forest Institute with its regional offices is ready to offer Pan-European policy-relevant research information and scientific knowledge but
· The need to value and finance non-marketed forest services.
· A new adaptive and integrated forest management models and tools based on the understanding of the two previous points.
He insisted on the paramount importance of integrating science and the role of impact assessments of forests-related policies (bio energy, biodiversity, climate, etc) based on available scientific knowledge.
He also called for unified and harmonised information.
ambitious efforts are needed to obtain Pan-European long-term data.
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