The main aim of the project was to develop a joint cross-border strategy for understanding the climate change responses, multifunctional value and adaptation capacity of forest ecosystems commonly found in the south of England and north east of France.
As part of this broad aim there are six specific objectives.
The associated activities were undertaken jointly through shared organisational networks on either side of the Channel. The first step involved carrying out an assessment of the present situation in each region. This was followed by comparative analyses.
Forests provide a range of ecosystem services, including environments for recreation, education, nature conservation and timber and wood fuel production. Because they fulfil many important socio-economic and biological functions, it is vital to understand the changes in forest ecosystems caused by climate change and to raise awareness of possible adaptation measures that can be taken by forest managers.
This four year project was a partnership of research organisations and local authorities from northern France and southern England. Similar production and semi-natural forest ecosystems in England and France are being used to exchange experience and knowledge among French and English project partners to understand how site selection and forest management can be improved to maximise the ecosystem services that forests provide and to improve forest resilience to climate change.
Forest Research involvement
Forest Research is involved in the components of the project that are concerned with:
- Assessing the influence of climate change on forest ecosystems
- Investigating the mechanisms for improving forest ecosystem resilience to climate change.
Funders and partners
The MULTIFOR project is part funded by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund ERDF) within the framework of the European INTERREG IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.
The Forest Research component is being provided with match funding from the Forestry Commission.
Forestry Commission policy
Climate change is now a major focus of forest policy in the UK. The forestry strategies for England, Scotland and Wales, and the Sustainable Development Strategy in Northern Ireland, set out the objectives for forest policy on climate change. These include carbon sequestration via tree planting and forest management, the production of wood fuel as a renewable energy source and the promotion of wood products as a substitute for more carbon intensive materials such cement and steel.
The conservation and enhancement of forest biodiversity are also important Forestry Commision policy objectives that are regarded as inherent components of sustainable forest management. Linked to these policy objectives are established requirements for compliance and reporting. These include:
- EU Directives
- UK sustainable forestry indicators (Forestry Commission, 2002)
- UK’s international reporting requirements with respect to biodiversity (UN ECE, FAO and MCPFE, 2006).
In addition, the individual UK countries are currently seeking to assess the impacts and success of management activities and policy implementation in the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity (e.g. Scottish Executive, 2006).
The project started in July 2009 and was completed in 2012.