Storms – an increasing threat to Europe’s forests

Leading a European Forest Institute (EFI) project entitled ‘Past and future impacts of storms to European forests’

News from Forest Research: September 2010

Storm damageStorms cause more than 50% of all damage to European forests. Over the past 60 years, damage has increased markedly, with an average of two destructive storms each year. Forest Research scientist Barry Gardiner recently led a European Forest Institute (EFI) project entitled ‘Past and future impacts of storms to European forests’, commissioned by the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission. This project involved partners in eight countries in addition to experts from Forest Research.

As part of the project, all storms causing notable damage to European forests since 1950 were catalogued and their details are now available in an online database. Eleven storms were selected for more-detailed analysis of their social, environmental and economic effects, and for policy implications. The research suggests that forest storm damage will continue to increase in Europe, with damage at least doubling by the end of the century if current management practices continue. In addition, damage will be exacerbated by climate change with storms affecting wider areas.

A project workshop took place in Brussels this June, bringing together researchers, policy makers and forest practitioners and a final project report was delivered at the end of July. The report, which will be published later this year by EFI, recommends a range of practice and policy measures to help mitigate the effects of storms on the European forest industry.

For more information, please contact Bruce Nicoll or Mariella Marzano.

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This and other news stories can be found in the September 2010 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.