EU researchers find MOTIVE to protect Europe's forests
The number of forest areas in Europe facing the onslaught of climate and land use changes, including fires, winds and droughts, is on the rise. A concern that weighs on the minds of many Europeans is how to determine which trees adapt best to climate change. The MOTIVE ('Models for adaptive forest management') project is investigating the impact of intensified competition for forest resources given the changes to the climate and land. MOTIVE is supported under the Environment Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of almost EUR 7 million.
Coordinated by the Germany-based Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wurtemberg (FVA), MOTIVE is investigating how these changes affect various forest goods and services. The project partners are spotlighting the uncertainties and risks, and how they can be used to enhance decision support tools. Various management options are being tested, including regimes, rotation length and species composition in 10 case study areas, to support forest owners seeking solid adaptive management options.
According to the consortium, the case study areas reflect the diversity and varied functions of Europe's forests, and the risks that could put their future in jeopardy. The areas being assessed are: North Karelia (Finland); Kronoberg (Sweden); Wales (UK); Southeast Veluwe (the Netherlands); Black Forest (Germany); Montafon Valley (Austria); Prades (Spain); Chamusca (Portugal); Panagyurishte (Bulgaria); and Carpathians (Romania).
The partners will use the results of the project to establish a database and provide tools for forest owners to help them understand how their decisions could affect the future based on the management strategies they select. Advanced methods for adaptive forest management, recommendations for adaptive forest management in the case study areas, and recommendations for adaptive forest management in European forestry are some of the key findings the partners anticipate.
Also on the agenda for MOTIVE is to document recently observed growth and productivity trends in Europe, to project species and productivity shifts, and to summarise climate change induced risks. Information on stakeholder views on how to best deal with expected impacts and uncertainty will be available, the partners say.
The MOTIVE partners say the diversity of Europe's forests lies in the differences of soil, climate and management history. What does not set them apart is that the forests are actively managed and, say the experts, management is required to determine species composition, structure and future development.
In recent years, increased attention on biodiversity has resulted in the emergence of nature-oriented forest management, against even-aged and monospecific timber production systems that were active in the past.
The consortium consists of experts from Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, as well as from the European Forest Institute.