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FUTUREforest International Conference, Brussels – 6 September
Europe’s forests can create sustainable wealth and jobs as well as helping to tackle climate change. That’s the message being delivered in the European Parliament by the FUTUREforest project.
The seven region European forestry project has proved that woodlands can make a major contribution to the future in its report – Europe’s Forests and Climate Change – the Voice of the Regions.
Launched in Brussels on 6 September the INTERREG IVC project team will be announcing some of the best climate change adaptation and mitigation measures for forestry from across the regions.
“Just as importantly there is a raft of recommendations for policy-makers and politicians which can provide forestry with the opportunity to make an even greater contribution to the European economy,” said project leader Georg Wagener-Lohse.
“Already our forests support more than four million jobs as well as capturing 286 million tones of carbon every year and helping to prevent natural disasters. But with the right help and support from our governments we can do even more,” he said.
Teams from the partnership have investigated some of the most radical climate mitigation and adaptation measures across Europe on a series of study visits.
A series of good practice guides which bring together the best ideas to help our forests survive the predicted increase in extreme weather conditions and capture more carbon has already been published and they are available to download at: www.futureforest.eu/publications.php?func=list&sel_country=&sel_subject=&sel_event=Good practice
“Our aim has been to produce documents which contains information that is invaluable to foresters and can help influence politicians and policy makers across Europe,” said Herr Wagener-Lohse.
Consensus from across the regions is that monoculture conifer plantations across the continent are increasingly at risk from drought, pests and pathogens.
Already many of the regions are implementing a range of management techniques and silvicultural systems will play a part in creating diversity, matched to site conditions and management objectives.
Foresters in Wales,Germany and France are moving towards these ‘plastic’ or ‘irregular’ woodlands which are expected to have better resilience to climate change.
By encouraging a mix of conifer and broadleaf in mixed age stands, relying on natural regeneration to re-stock and harvesting individual trees for high value timber they believe these new forests will actually be more profitable.
Exciting new management measures from all over Europe also cover key areas including flood prevention, soil erosion control, the use of biomass for carbon neutral energy and new ways of increasing biodiversity.
“The project is particularly valuable to Wales, because many of our partners are experiencing problems which we can expect to face as our climate begins to become more like theirs,” said FUTUREforest Wales manager Dr Helen Cariss.
“FUTUREforest has given us a different perspective on what may happen in the future for our forests and the valuable insights we have gained can be incorporated into the policies being drawn up for managing the nation’s woodlands.”
Helen Cariss, FUTUREforest, Wales project manager – Tel: 0300 068 0087
Guy Pargeter, Taliesin Communications – Tel: 01970 832375.
You are invited to send photographer/reporter to official launch of the FUTUREforest final report at a conference in Brussels to celebrate the International Year of Forests – Europe’s forests – which way for the future?
The report will be announced by Gaston Franco MEP, head of the Intergroup forestry branch at 1.45pm at Paul Henri Spaak Building, Brussels P3C050 on 6 September. Full details are included in the attached invitation.
FUTUREforest is a three year INTERREG 1VC programme funded by the EU and Regional Governments. The FUTUREforest partner regions are – Wales (water management); Auvergne, France (biodiversity); Brandenburg, Germany (knowledge transfer); Bulgaria (soil protection); Catalonia (natural risks); Latvia (timber production); Slovakia (carbon sequestration).
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.
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 Government. More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on: www.forestry.gov.uk/wales