Ecological, economical and policy analysis of beech forest conservation under the Natura 2000 Network

The effects of European environmental legislation on the protection of beech forests (Fagus sylvatica) in Europe

The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is of fundamental importance for European biodiversity as a diverse array of plants animals and other organisms depend on it. Yet, beech forests cover only a small percentage of their original area and are under increasing pressure due to environmental and socio-economic reasons, such as climate change and growing demand for timber.

The EU addresses beech forest conservation through the Natura 2000 protected area network. The implementation process of Natura 2000, however, has been impaired by conflicts and diverging stakeholder interests regarding forest management. Together with the effects of global climate change, this underlines the need for cross-national governance and conservation strategies.

Focusing on Natura 2000, this project aims at developing science-based recommendations on innovative management and conservation approaches as well as multi-level-governance strategies for beech forests in Europe. This objective requires an interdisciplinary approach, which is realized through three complementary work packages (WP):

  • WP1: Biodiversity, conservation and management
  • WP2: Governance
    • WP-2a Multi-level policy analysis
    • WP-2b Ecosystem services and market-based instruments
  • WP3: Synthesis and evaluation

The overall goal of the project is to incite the policy-science-interface by involving politics and policy related institutions, scientists and practitioners during the whole research process. The results will be used to create a new and comprehensive understanding of the present situation as well as to develop innovative management, conservation and governance strategies to ensure the survival of beech forests and associated biodiversity for future generations.

BeFoFu is part of the Biodiversa ERA network and funded by the European Comission under the 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6). The project involves partners in Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.