FOREST EUROPE publication: Adaptation to Climate Change in Sustainable Forest Management in Europe

The new FOREST EUROPE publication is focussed on integration of climate change adaptation measures to sustainable forest management in Europe.

Besides Part II prepared by the team of authors, the publication also contains policy recommendations of the FOREST EUROPE Expert Group established on this topic (Part I).


"Climate change is ongoing and, besides the global warming trend (current global temperatures are already more than 1 degree above the pre-industrial levels), it is particularly worrying that extreme events are amplified, resulting in extended periods of hot spells and drought. The years 2018 and 2019 were exceptionally warm and dry in large parts of Europe. For example, the temperatures during the growing season 2018 deviated twice as much from the average climate compared to previous hot years (Rahmstorf 2018). With continuing climate warming, the current extreme weather patterns may soon become common and the future will probably bring even more extreme temperatures and drought spells. In recent years, European forests have been affected by severe droughts, widespread wildfires, a series of severe windstorms, and rapidly expanding bark beetle infestations, in some places accompanied by new invasive pests taking advantage of the weakening of trees through the aforementioned disturbances. Evidence is increasing that these events have become much more frequent and more threatening because of ongoing climate change. What makes this situation different from the past is not only the number of disturbances but also the extent of damage, the number of human fatalities (e.g. the Attica fire in Greece 2018 killed 100 people), and the fact that in a single year, severe disturbances occurred all over Europe, often in locations that have not experienced similar events before. It is also noteworthy that observed impacts exceeded the expectations from past impact projections (Lorenz et al. 2019), which challenges sustainable forest management (SFM) in Europe and makes adaptation to climate change necessary. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustments in ecological, social and economic systems in response to its effects. There are various approaches to climate-change adaptation and many supporting measures need to be considered. Effective adaptation policies must be responsive to a wide variety of economic, social, environmental and political circumstances. The forestry community, as well as the public, need to understand the effects of climate change on forests and determine which adaptive actions could be taken now and in the future to respond to this threat. A high priority should be given to the coping with and adapting to forest disturbances while maintaining and enhancing the diversity and resilience of
forest ecosystems. The need for strengthening the resilience of European forests and enhancing their protection against natural hazards and human induced threats associated with climate change was highlighted by European ministers at the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the
Protection of Forests in Europe in 2015. Therefore, one of the action areas in the subsequent FOREST EUROPE Work Programme 2016- 2020 focused on the protection of forests in a changing environment and their adaptation to
climate change….."

Copy of the publication is available HERE.

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