ForestForWater - Demonstration of opportunities on forest land to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive

LIFE03 ENV/S/000601

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Elisabet ANDERSSON
Tel: + 46 90 108361
Fax: n/a
Email: elisabet.andersson@skogsstyrelsen.se

Project description:


Forest land covers a significant proportion of the total EU land area (over 35%) and such a prominent land user offers important opportunities to contribute to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) goals. An integrated approach to forest management is required to facilitate these contributions which will be based on effective cooperation between key stakeholders in the environmental, forestry and NGO sectors at national, regional and local levels.


The main objective of this LIFE-ENV project was to demonstrate how forestry in Europe could contribute to the implementation of the WFD and achievement of its goals. National Forest Authorities from three partner countries (Sweden, France and United Kingdom) combined forces to extend their existing knowledge in this area. LIFE-ENV support was harnessed to progress a package of new development activities aimed at improving integrated management of forest and water resources in different geographic, institutional and economic conditions. This involved the following interventions:

  • research regarding the effect of forestry actions on the quality of groundwater and surface water;
  • comparative analysis of forestry practices in different countries;
  • preparation of material for a handbook on river basin management planning;
  • analysis of public participation models adapted to different spatial scales;
  • introduction of forest management methods for good ecological status;
  • establishment of different monitoring frameworks; and
  • demonstration of potential methodologies for forest area protection.


    LIFE-ENV activities were carried out within pilot watersheds which were carefully chosen to represent different geographical zones (Mediterranean, Alpine, Atlantic, southern and northern Boreal landscapes) as well as institutional management structures. The project was successful in demonstrating that forest management techniques can help mitigate climate change impacts on the freshwater environment. For example, the use of using riparian shade was able to reduce thermal stress on freshwater organisms and planting floodplains with woodland species was used to alleviate downstream flood risks. New monitoring programmes were established at pilot sites to examine longer term impacts of different forest activities on water quality. Forestry was identified as the main anthropogenic disturbance in all of the areas examined. Mitigation measures were introduced and the monitoring systems are anticipated to continue informing the project partners’ activities in the future. This represents a sustainable benefit from the LIFE-ENV project results. Analysis of existing approaches to participation was carried out within the pilot areas and across the national institutions. These identified the benefits from incorporating forestry interests during the planning and control of water basin management systems. The project also looked at ways of strengthening the participatory process from a forestry perspective by establishing stakeholder groups at all levels and this helped to ensure an inclusive, relevant set of outcomes. Participatory approaches were noted as time consuming but worthwhile, generating added value and long term benefits. Participation was recognised as essential during development of large scale integrated river basin plans that crossed regional or national borders. The project demonstrated how forest management could make useful contributions to the restoration of water habitats for ecological and socio-economic purposes. Participation was highlighted during this process as important in resolving potential conflicts between different stakeholders. Results confirmed that forest companies still concentrate their efforts on maximising timber production and this approach fails to recognise the important socio-economic benefits from integrated forest and water management, such as angling or rural tourism opportunities. All of the lessons learnt during the LIFE-ENV project have been collated within a report which will be used to inform river basin management handbook materials. Results of the project are also featured within training programmes that form part of the After LIFE communication plan.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests
Water - River basin management


comparison‚  land use planning‚  river management‚  forestry

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Skogsstyrelsen
Type of organisation National authority
Description This LIFE-Environment Project has been developed by The Swedish Forest Agency (SFA), which is the Government's expert authority on forests and forest policy. The SFA is tasked to manage Swedish forests in a sustainable manner according to the guidelines given by the national Parliament and the Government.
Partners Université Lumière Lyon 2, France Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, France Forestry Commission, United Kingdom Office National des Forêts, France Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Délégation Rhône-Alpes, France WWF, Sweden County Administration Board of Jonkooping, Sweden The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU/Sweden County Administration Board of Vasterbotten/Sweden Syndicat Mixte d’Aménagement de l’Arve et de ses Abords(SM3A)/France Syndicat intercommunal de l’Ouveze/France Union Régionale des Associations des Communes Forestières de Rhône-Alpes/France Communauté de Communes du Val de Drome – CCVD/France


Project reference LIFE03 ENV/S/000601
Duration 01-SEP-2003 to 30-JUN -2007
Total budget 3,000,012.00 €
EU contribution 1,499,556.00 €
Project location Rhône-Alpes(France) Småland med Öarna(Sverige) Övre Norrland(Sverige) Scotland(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (SE, EN, FR)
Publication: Case study "Rapport de la composante française : Etat actuel ...
Publication: Case study "Report of the French component: The current state ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (FR)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (SE)
Publication: Proceedings "Life Forests for water: summary from the final se ...
Publication: Research findings "Rapport de la composante française : Synthèse des ...
Publication: Research findings "Vid ett skogsvatten - Om sociala värden i skoglig ...
Publication: Research findings "Report from the French component: Identification ...


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