LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS - Coupling water, fire and climate resilience with biomass production in Forestry to adapt watersheds to climate change

LIFE17 CCA/ES/000063

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Contact details:

Contact person: Antonio del Campo García
Tel: 610749291
Email: ancamga@upv.es

Project description:


Forests across Europe are at major risk from increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. They will also be affected by the related increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as droughts, high winds and heavy rainstorms, which will lead to increased flooding and the outbreak of fires. Not only will Mediterranean areas and eastern Europe will be affected but Central Europe too.

The number and intensity of continuous dry days experienced in Europe is thus expected to increase, affecting an increasingly larger area. Moreover, Mediterranean countries, where forests are considered low production, trees provide vital protection from soil erosion and degradation, as well as improving the landscape and stabilising the hydrological cycle. Forest management in Europe must urgently change, with decisions being made on the basis of the provision key goods and services.


The first objective of the LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS is to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for forest managers, which introduces them to the climate change adaptation processes. This system will comprise updated management practices on the watershed scale and climate change-related issues. The support system will be then demonstrated on two levels, sub-catchment and catchment, in Germany, Portugal and Spain. At each location the DSS will be modified by involving the relevant stakeholders.

The project also plans to develop a complete monitoring system, including a Life Cycle Assessment of the forest management approach (following ISO 14040/44), that will demonstrate the positive environmental impact of the project, as well as its socioeconomic impact. A further objective is to develop a strategy for transferring management approaches around Europe and to organise networking activities to facilitate the transfer of information on forest management and climate change initiatives. The project will contribute to the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050, as well as 2020 Energy Strategy targets and the EU’s strategy on adaption to climate change, among other EU policy areas.

Expected results:

  • Demonstration and replication of a successful, innovative forest management scheme on a watershed scale;
  • Demonstration of the management tool first at sub catchment level (415 ha), then at catchment level in Germany, Portugal and Spain (7 824.5 ha) and finally further expanded to 350 000 ha within five years of project completion;
  • Forest stakeholders will have reinforced mechanisms to develop climate change adaptation measures in rural areas and to ensure its socioeconomic sustainability, including the promotion of sustainable biomass chains in rural areas;
  • Increased water reserves of 45-200 l/m²/year and increased water availability downstream, leading to a reduction in energy extraction costs to 5 W/hm;
  • Increased biomass production for bioenergy uses, between 10 and 15 t/ha year, including both forest and agricultural residues traditionally burned and usually the cause of wild fires. This biomass will be transformed into bio-energy (pellets) generating around 49 400 kW/ha. Thus, this biomass production not only will reduce the CO2 emissions from 10 to 15 t/ha, but also will diminish the fire hazard and will create job opportunities in rural areas (around 0.3 jobs/ha);
  • Reduced fire hazards by 30% compared to a scenario without forest management, further protecting rural populations currently residing it at risk areas (6 000 inhabitants) around the Mediterranean, as well as other areas of Central Europe; and
  • Increased resilience of 25% of forest areas to withstand droughts, pests and disease outbreak.



Environmental issues addressed:


Climate change Adaptation - Natural resources and ecosystems


forest fire‚  decision making support‚  forest management‚  water resources management‚  preventive measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • COM(2012)673 -"A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources"
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)
  • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)
  • COM(2014)15 - Policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030 (22.01.2014 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Universitat Politcnica de Valncia
Type of organisation University
Description The Universitat Politécnica de Valéncia research team focuses on the management of Mediterranean forests and has extensive experience in forest hydrology and restoration, soil biochemistry, the relationship between plants soil and the atmosphere, and soil solute and water transport modelling. The team also has experience in hydro-economic modelling, as well as several other water/sediment-related areas. Their knowledge transfer models are being used by national and international public and private bodies.
Partners Ayuntamiento de Serra, Spain Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany European Biomass Industry Association, Belgium Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial, Portugal


Project reference LIFE17 CCA/ES/000063
Duration 01-OCT-2018 to 30-SEP -2022
Total budget 2,013,973.00 €
EU contribution 1,192,420.00 €
Project location Vlaams Gewest(België - Belgique) Région Wallonne(België - Belgique) Bruxelles-Brussel(België - Belgique) Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal)


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