Integrating nature conservation measures in european forest management – An exploratory study of barriers and drivers in 9 european countries

Konczal, Agata A.; Derks, Jakob; Koning, Johannes H.C. de; Winkel, Georg


Integrative forest management approaches, aiming to combine the provision of multiple forest ecosystem services in the same forest area, are popular forest management concepts in Europe. Their understanding and application varies, however, across the continent. This paper looks at one dimension of integrative forest management approaches in particular – the integration of nature conservation measures into forest management; focusing on its understanding and application, as well as current and future social, technological, ecological, economic and political factors enabling or hampering this integration. Drawing on 42 qualitative in-depth interviews with national experts and forest practitioners, our study provides insights into the integration of nature conservation measures into forest management systems aimed at wood production and the provision of other forest ecosystem services under various conditions. Across the investigated countries, the main factors perceived to facilitate this integration are the personal motivations and knowledge of forest managers and their long-term economic thinking related to the resilience of the forest in the face of climate and societal change. In turn, the main factors perceived as hampering the integration are current wood-market demands, and a lack of (public) financial incentives. Public pressure is also perceived as an important influencing factor, which can both impede or support integration. Other ambiguous factors include societal knowledge and related knowledge gaps, relationships between local stakeholders, and the legal framework in which forest management operates. The study concludes with suggestions of how to enhance the uptake of the integration of nature conservation measures into forest management in Europe.