MOUNTAIN FORESTS

PATHWAY 4

MOUNTAIN FORESTS

PATHWAY 4

Promote an Alpine-wide integrated sustainable forest management approach

Basic information:

The pathway aims at exploring methods and solutions being suitable to mountain forests (particularly: Alpine forests) and tested in the Alps. Regional differences are possible concerning the most suitable approaches to be used.

The pathway intends to promote a fully integrated approach to forest management in the Alps that can contribute to assure both a certain diversity of species and structures (height, age, ground cover, etc.) in Alpine forests and a good contribution to climate change mitigation in the region. In doing so, the pathway proposes a composite set of actions covering diverse interconnected domains (from C-storage to wood production and forest natural and recreational value ).

Sequence of implementation steps:

The forest management targets of the Alpine-wide approach should encompass multiple forest functions, particularly climate change associated to other priorities (e.g., biodiversity, productive function, protective function, etc.).

By means of a wide consultation with stakeholders (see below) and a survey in the domain of forestry and forest management, targets that are beneficial for more than one priority are selected.

A transition to a more efficient and effective forest planning aimed at achieving the specific objectives mentioned in Step 1 requires some operational tools that are set-up in this phase, i.e.:

  1. Alpine associations (international and national, also more than one) of agronomy and forestry specialists focusing on Alpine specific issues with forest management.
  2. An Observatory on forest genetics, health and yield for multiple purposes (CCS, protection, wood production, etc.).

Identification of market and non-market incentives and schemes for promoting the regional use of wood e.g., as construction material, in craftsmanship and industry, mainly in the same regions where forests are grown.

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, association of forestry companies and professionals, forest owners, forest managers, managers of protected areas, companies in the furniture, construction and design sectors.
  • Application of the integrated approach to forest management in large shares of Alpine forests
  • Step 1: Number of organisations or people involved in the consultation phase
  • Step 2: Number of meetings of the Alpine associations or number of their members, number of pilot areas and/or surface in hectares that are formally included in the observatory
  • Step 3: Quantity of wood exported from the region where it has been grown, number of companies operating in the forest-related sector, and data on sales/supply chains of wood industry in the region
The pathway aims at setting up a complex management model for Alpine mountain forests that may support a regional transition to a sustainable forest management. This includes three main groups of actions that are supported by specific instruments/tools. Each of the steps below refers to one of these three groups.

  • RSA7 Report on the State of the Alps (2019)
  • 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)
  • Report on Interactions between mountain forests and flood protection (Stock taking No. 32)
  • MANFRED – Management strategies to adapt Alpine Space forests to climate change risks (Project ASP; Stock Taking No. 70)
  • RocktheAlps – Harmonized ROCKfall natural risk and protection forest mapping in the ALPine Space (Project ASP; Stock Taking No. 73)
  • Several national and regional policies across the Alps
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CHALLENGES & TARGETS

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.
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