Accelerate forest conversion to more resilient ecosystem

Basic information:

The acceleration of forest conversion to more resilient ecosystems is an important issue in times of climate change – not only, but also for Alpine forests. The preservation of diverse functions of Alpine forests are of great importance for the Alpine population, animal and plant species.

The pathway aims at supporting a more rapid conversion of current forests to more resilient forest ecosystems through a mix of management innovation and financial schemes. By 2050, a conversion of forest ecosystems to close-to-nature forests should have been achieved.

Sequence of implementation steps:

Promotion of studies (and/or their collection & harmonisation) aimed at identifying a few future development scenarios of Alpine forests and their types (species) and ages under CC.

Guidelines on forest planning aimed at increasing forest resilience to CC impacts including concrete examples and management technique.

Scheme(s) of payment for supporting the use of endemic species in forest management in the Alps defined and tested in some pilot regions (payments from suitable sources: the payment should incentivise forest owners and managers to plant or continue to grow endemic species).

Further Information:

This pathway needs the involvement of the following stakeholder categories:

  • Policy makers involved in forest management at regional and national level in particular, research community, forest owners, forest managers, managers of protected areas, EU institutions (DG Agri, DG Regio) for defining the payment schemes
  • Application of “Alpine guidelines” for conversion of forest ecosystems to more resilient forest
  • Step 1: Number of studies collected/harmonised
  • Step 2: Expert assessment of the elaborated guidelines
  • Step 3: Expected mobilised finance from the application of the financial scheme; actual implementation/test of financial schemes
  • Statement On the Value of Alpine Forests and the Alpine Convention’s Protocol on Mountain Forests in the framework of the international forestry policies beyond 2015 (2014; Stock taking No. 13)
  • MANFRED – Management strategies to adapt Alpine Space forests to climate change risks (Project ASP; Stock Taking No. 70)
  • Several national and regional policies across the Alps
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Due to climate change, mountain forests face an increased risk from dry periods and extreme events such as wind gusts and forest fires. Weakened trees also become more vulnerable to pest diseases. On the other hand, the forest cover is growing in the Alps due to the abandonment of cultivated areas and the rise in temperature. Sustainable forest management is key to fully use both the protective and mitigation function of mountain forests, as forests act as a carbon sink, they supply wood as construction material and renewable energy source and they offer natural protection from avalanches, floods and other disasters.