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Welsh foresters will be joining woodland experts from across Europe in Paris next week to draw up what could be some of the most influential new guidelines on climate change and forest management this year.
The FUTUREforest project team are meeting at the Foreign and European Office in the French capital to bring together all the latest thinking on forests and climate change.
And their final report – due to be presented to the European Parliament in Brussels later in the year – could radically alter the way regional governments manage their woodlands.
For two years now, FUTUREforest’s seven region team has been looking at how forests react to climate change to understand the role forests can play in mitigation and latest techniques that can improve adaptation.
Study visits and workshops have drawn up a raft of solutions and practices implemented by each partner to fight climate change damage which could provide future generations with forests more resilient to extreme climatic events.
“By drawing together all the latest ideas on forestry from regions as diverse as Catalonia and the Auvergne to Slovakia and Latvia we now have a wealth of knowledge about all the best management practices across Europe,” said project manager Dr Helen Cariss, of Forestry Commission Wales, which manages FUTUREforest in Wales.
Now the task of INTERREG IVC programme team, funded by the EU and the Welsh Assembly Government, is to pull together a document which could become a template for all forestry and climate change activities.
“By looking at how other regions - many already experiencing the changing weather patterns which we shall in future - are dealing with the changes we can take an action based on their findings,” said Dr Cariss.
“Now our aim is to convince the EU that this vast pool of detailed information provides answers that can help to guide politicians, policy makers and foresters on the way forward for the forests of Europe.”
As well as presenting an analysis of forest challenges and solutions the project’s final report will also include details on climate projections through to 2030 and 2050.
FUTUREforest partners will meet the French Forestry Office's Executive Director Pascal Viné and French Forestry Office's Head of the Board of Directors Hervé Gaymard at the Salon de l'Agriculture (Agricultural Show) taking place in Paris - Porte de Versailles during their visit.
Contact: Dr Helen Cariss, FUTUREforest, Wales project manager, on 0300 068 0300, or Guy Pargeter, Taliesin Communications, tel: 01970 832375.
NOTES TO EDITORS
FUTUREforest is a three year INTERREG 1VC programme funded by the EU and the Welsh Assembly government. It aims to identify the threats, weaknesses and strengths of Europe’s forest as they face up to climate change; developing best management techniques to guide policy makers and stakeholders.
It also aims to improve and adapt regional and local forest management policies and practices focusing on water balance, soil, biodiversity, timber and non-timber forest products, air quality including carbon sequestration, and natural risk like fires, pests and pathogens.
The objective is to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and contribute to the economic modernisation and increased competitiveness of Europe through exchange, sharing and transfer of policy experience, knowledge and good practices in woodland management.
The project will provide political decision makers and other stakeholders in European regions with the knowledge, tools and approaches to enable effective forestry/regional development policies and forest management practices.
It also intends to identify opportunities resulting from climate change including increased biomass production - and therefore carbon sequestration - due to changes in rainfall pattern and higher temperatures.
The partners include Auvergne, France (biodiversity); Brandenburg, Germany (knowledge transfer); Bulgaria (soil protection); Catalonia (natural risks); Latvia (timber production); Slovakia (carbon sequestration).
Forestry Commission Wales is responsible for FUTUREforest in Wales. It is the government department responsible for forestry policy and manages the 320,000 acres (130,000 ha) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales