Sustainable Forest Management in the face of climate change discussed at COP23-related event

An event entitled “Sustainable Forest Management and Climate Change” was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of France and took place at the COP23 in Bonn on 7 November 2017 in the French Pavilion. EUSTAFOR was invited to present the perspective of State Forest Management Organizations and an overview of their best practices.

The Paris Agreement recalled that forests are at the heart of solutions to climate change, while being closely dependent on it. At the event, the participants discussed which management models should be preferred and which trade-offs can be identified in relation to forest management and the dual need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Salvatore Martire spoke on behalf of EUSTAFOR in the panel of experts. His presentation focused on the role of SFM, its envisaged long-term planning in, among others, forest management plans and on the diversity of SFM practices across Europe. He stressed that SFM was needed to minimize risks and adapt forest ecosystems to changing climatic conditions through, inter alia, the selection of the most suitable species and varieties as well as appropriate adjustment of forestry operations. Dr. Martire also recalled the cost-effectiveness of forest management as a mitigation tool. Its actions provide a triple carbon benefit: forest growth (which impacts on the sink), carbon storage in wood products (stock), and the possibility to substitute for non-renewable materials and energy. The presentation was supported by examples of the best practices of EUSTAFOR members and stressed the need for more policy coherence, especially at EU level.

Session moderator Catherine Rivoal, French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry, highlighted that agriculture and forestry are priority areas for the Paris Agreement. Julie Marsaud, France Nature Environnment (FNE), stressed points of complexity as regards forestry while at the same time underscoring that forest management is necessary to reach Paris Agreement targets. Laura Nikinmaa, European Forest Institute (EFI), spoke about the EIP focus group on climate change adaptation to which EUSTAFOR members are also part of. Jean-François Dhôte, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), highlighted that excessive wood in aging forests, combined with additional climate stress, exposed forests to risks. He called for wood to be used rather than safeguarded in forests, as the former would positively contribute to climate change and the reduction of risks. Benoît Leguet, Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE) emphasized addressing climate emissions rather than focusing exclusively on carbon storage. Giacomo Grassi, from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), spoke of the trade-offs between maximizing carbon stocks and uptake. He noted that responses to the trade-off question will vary depending on policy priorities and encouraged the development of a portfolio of regional strategies. Karin Simonson, Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), highlighted the context of forests in Canada, which has the third largest amount of forests globally and has seen extensive forest fires in recent years. She gave an example of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change plan which includes a specific action regarding forests, including the growth of the bioeconomy.

Overall, the event was important to bring forestry into the spotlight of the climate negotiations and advocate the synergies on mitigation and adaptation which can be obtained from sustainable forest management.

More information (French):

Published 13/11/2017

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