by: Minna Korhonen
ThinkForest addressed the question of climate change and adaptive forest management in its most recent event in the European Parliament on April 25, as the European Commission is preparing to launch its new Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
The programme featured presentations by many scientists in MOTIVE, including Marcus Lindner, EFI, Marc Hanewinkel, WSL and Manfred Lexer, BOKU. They introduced the scientific background to the day\'s topic by presenting how climate change will affect forests in Europe, by looking at the options for adaptive forest management in European forests and by discussing how to provide decision support to practitioners and policy makers. Also MOTIVE case studies were featured as Xavier Buqueras presented convincing evidence of climate change effects in Catalonia and Hasse Bengtsson shared the practitioner’s view and the effects climate change will bring to the region of Kronoberg, Sweden.
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 seminar Climate Change in European Forests: How to Adapt was organized by the high-level discussion and information-sharing forum on the future of forests in Europe – ThinkForest. ThinkForest aims to provide an active and efficient science-policy interface and foster an inspiring and dynamic dialogue on strategic forest-related issues.
The event was facilitated by the European Forest Institute, an independent international organization and 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, tel. +34 630 23 69 12 and from the event website at http://www.thinkforest.efi.int/portal/past_events/thinkforest_seminar__climate_change_in_european_forests_-_how_to_adapt/