Maja Drča, CEPF’s policy officer, participated in the session dedicated to the impact climate change will have on forestry. She started by highlighting the significant contribution of multifunctional forests, especially in view of climate change mitigation and adaptation, environment conservation and development of rural areas.
She continued by explaining a rather complicated relationship forests have with carbon and climate. On one hand they play an enormous role in protecting our climate as they sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus limiting its potential as a greenhouse gas. Wood stores carbon before and after harvesting and substitutes fossil material and energy. On the other hand, forests are seriously affected by climate change limiting their mitigation potential and increasing their potential emissions. This does not only represent a serious danger for the climate, environment and biodiversity, but also a serious threat for the society and rural areas. Furthermore, the occurrence of natural disturbances such as storms, insects’ outbreaks, extended drought periods and heat waves are increasingly reported by forest owners and managers and are projected to further increase due to global warming. A solution to counteract the negative tendencies is sustainable adaptive forest management which creates synergies between climate change mitigation and adaptation needs. With its economic, environment and social pillars, sustainable forest management provides conditions for that, by improving the resilience and health of our forests and rural areas.
Finally, in a context when forests are subject to growing societal expectations and an increasing number of EU policies directly concerns forests, she concluded with key policy messages to be considered when framing future EU policies and legislations.
Hosted by the House of Nature of the University of Latvia, the event brought together European experts, representatives of local ministries, scientists and industry professionals from Latvia, Sweden, Finland and other countries. CEPF would like to thank the organisers for the invitation and for setting up this timely and important discussion.
Please find the conference presentations here.