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AdaptFor - Adaptation of forest management to climate change in Greece

LIFE08 ENV/GR/000554


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Project description:

Background

The development of scientific knowledge has resulted in greater certainty that climate change is an inevitable consequence of past and present human activities. Forests interact with climate systems, acting as carbon dioxide sinks when growing, and as a source of carbon dioxide when being destroyed by natural or by human-driven processes. Climate change is expected to result in major shifts in the geographic distribution of forest vegetation, and die-back and decline are expected. The Mediterranean region seems more prone than other regions to serious changes in its ecosystems, flora and fauna, with a shift to more drought-tolerant species. The implications of these changes for forest management and conservation are profound. Adaptive forest management strategies are urgently needed to enable the planning and management of healthy, productive forests, capable of additional carbon storage in forest ecosystems, combined with sustainable provision of forest goods and services.


Objectives

The AdaptFor project aimed to demonstrate that forest management can be adapted to climate change, while enhancing the capacity of forest services. To achieve this, the project aimed to select four pilot forest sites, where changes in vegetation attributable to climate change have already been observed, on which to demonstrate their approach. The aim was to work at local level, and then to integrate the findings to give guidance and training at regional and national level.


Results

The AdaptFor project demonstrated a new approach for adapting forest management to climate change, while enhancing the capacity of Forest Services to adapt forest management. The project implemented its approach in four pilot forest areas in Greece, distributed throughout the country and which all face different problems that can be attributed, at least in part, to climate change (e.g. dieback of Scots pine, intrusion of coniferous species into broadleaves, dieback of fir). In the light of this, the project disseminated the need for forest management adaptation to other stakeholders and the public.

The project initially assessed the vulnerability of four pilot forest ecosystems to climate change, namely Ritini-Vria Forest at Pieria Ori, Aspropotamos-Kalampaka Forests, Parnitha National Park, and Taygetos Forest. Past climate trends were assessed by creating time series for temperature and precipitation, using data retrieved from existing meteorological stations in the study areas. The past and current health status of the forests and relevant vegetation changes were studied through historic data, fieldwork conducted by a group of experts, and remote sensing techniques (e.g. satellite images); with the project also collecting information on pathogens (fungi and insects), and phyto-sociological, eco-physiological and soil parameters. From this, possible correlations between climatic factors and the observed health/vegetation phenomena were drawn; predicted future precipitation and temperature time series were created; and the expected response of/impacts on the forests under different climate change scenarios was assessed. Based on all the data and information collected, the project team developed measures for adapting forest management in each pilot area. Proposed measures included immediate logging of trees infected with pathogenic fungi or bark beetles, removal of dead wood, changes in rotation periods, establishing permanent monitoring plots, protecting soil resources, and the promotion of mixed stands. Extensive consultation was conducted with the Forest Services of the four pilot areas and other competent authorities to finalise the adaptation measures, which were then incorporated into the management plans for the four forests. All the revised Forest Management Plans were officially approved by the relevant authorities, which should guarantee their implementation.

The project established four new meteorological stations and sixteen (4x4) permanent monitoring plots, to monitor the status of the forests vis-a-vis climate change and to assess the effectiveness of the implemented measures, which also established baseline data for long-term comparisons. This is an innovative approach, because it is the first national demonstration of the adaptation of forest management to climate change. The project integrates climate change considerations, biodiversity conservation priorities, and also socio-economic aspects into forest management practice.

In terms of training, the project organised a two-day seminar for foresters from throughout Greece regarding early detection of and response to climate change impacts. The project published ‘Guidelines for the adaptation of forest management to climate change in Greece’, which was distributed to Forest Services and other competent authorities. A number of environmental benefits arise from the project. Direct and immediate benefits include the diagnosis of the causes and descriptions of climate change impacts occurring in the four pilot forests; the overall six revised Forest Management Plans (the Aspropotamos - Kalambaka area includes three different forest complexes, each one with its own forest management plan) with climate change adaptation measures (covering a total area of 33 000 ha); and the establishment of a permanent monitoring programme with baseline measurements in the project areas. In the long-term, the project contributes to habitat and biodiversity conservation.

The project is highly relevant to EU environmental policy, particularly to the objectives related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Apart from its clear goal to propose measures for the enhancement of forest health and resilience to climate change, it will subsequently lead to increased capacity for carbon sequestration and storage as well as to the adaptation and conservation of forest biodiversity, ensuring synergies with other EU policies related to climate change mitigation and the preservation of biodiversity. The project is in line with the COM (2013) 0216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to Climate Change, the EC Green Paper ‘Adapting to climate change in Europe – options for EU action’ (COM(2007) 354) and COM(2011) 244 - EU Biodiversity strategy 2020 as well as the EC 2006 Action Plan ‘Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond’ (COM(2006) 216), particularly regarding Policy Area 3: Biodiversity and climate change. Regarding socio-economic benefits, the project contributes to increased forest productivity, both in terms of quantity and quality, and the enhancement of the services that forest ecosystems provide to local communities, such as flood protection and recreation.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Risk management - Natural risks (Flood - Forest fire - Landslide)
Land-use & Planning - Forest management
Climate change Adaptation - Natural resources and ecosystems


Keywords

forest ecosystem‚  forest management‚  management plan‚  climate change adaptation‚  knowledge development‚  vulnerability assessment


Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Section of Biotic Resources and Management of protected areas/ Greek Biotope Wetland Centre
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Goulandris Natural History Museum/Greek Biotope Wetland Centre is a private body dedicated to the study and protection of Greek habitats, with extensive experience of working on forest issues.
Partners Directorate General for the Development and Protection of Forests and the Rural Environment - Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Greece

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Project reference LIFE08 ENV/GR/000554
Duration 01-JAN-2010 to 31-DEC -2014
Total budget 1,719,112.00 €
EU contribution 833,356.00 €
Project location Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan Title: After-LIFE Communication Plan Author: Chrysopolitou Vasiliki, P. Drougas, Argyro Zerva a Year: 2014 Editor: Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (EKBY) No of pages: 13
Publication: Layman report Title: Layman report Author: Chrysopolitou Vasiliki, P. Drougas, Argyro Zerva a Year: 2014 Editor: Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (EKBY) No of pages: 16
Publication: Technical report Title: Project's Final technical report Year: 2015 Editor: The Goulandris Natural History Museum / Greek Biot No of pages: 85

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version