European forests under heavy pressure from climate change

September 11, 2019

European forests are now heavily suffering from climate change. Latest reports state that mortality in spruce forests alone will amount to 100 million m³ this year. Furthermore, European forests face challenges with declining biodiversity, but also rising new demands in the so-called bio-economy. A next-generation information tool, presented by Wageningen researchers and colleagues in Nature Sustainability today, can help making the best decisions for European forests.

Currently there is no comprehensive information system that keeps track of recent trends at the EU scale, nor is there a common and strong European forest policy in place. Forest-related regulations at the EU level are fragmented and uncoordinated on various issues like climate mitigation, bioenergy provision, and nature conservation.

European Union forest policy

A novel European Union forest policy based on the best and most up-to-date information available is urgently needed. Without such change, forests will not provide the renewable resources we need, but will suffer more heavily under climate change in the future. Forest inventories and many information sources exist in all countries, but are not used in European Union policymaking to their full extent.

Next-generation information tool

The research team introduces a next-generation information tool that portrays a novel European forest management strategies map, spatially weighing the multi-functionality of European forests as one first step towards better information use and thus better policy support and decisions.