LIFE Forests-waterworlds

Background

The EU Forest Strategy 2013 identifies the “protection of forests and improvement of ecosystem services” as priority area. To safeguard biological diversity, the implementation of Natura2000 is one of its key strategic objectives. A quarter of the forest area of the European Union (EU-28) is protected under Natura2000; and half of the Natura2000 area is covered by forests. Most of the forested Natura2000 area is managed e.g. for wood production, grazing/farming, hunting or tourism. The European Union emphasizes that Natura2000 is not exclusively a system of protected areas, but combines the protection of biodiversity with sustainable development of natural resources. However, forest use has to consider explicitly the protection of various forest habitats and species.

The integration of nature conservation objectives into sustainable forest management is a suitable concept for balancing various forest functions and user interests1. With forest types and forest conditions varying across Europe, we can find a wide range of different management concepts and approaches.

LIFE projects have been implemented in very different forest habitats with a great variety of utilization-concepts and forest ownership structures. Thus, they provide a lot of best practices and lessons-learned for the conservation and promotion of biological diversity in managed forests; and they are exemplary not only for Natura2000. The projects include innovative strategies to adapt forest use to species- and habitat-specific protection goals and the reactivation of traditional silvicultural systems. They also present different approaches to communicate integrative management strategies to forest owners and managers in order to improve acceptance of Natura2000.

In the framework of the workshop, we will introduce selected LIFE projects showcasing examples for the successful balance between “protection and utilization”. Together, we will take a closer look on LIFE projects across Europe to broaden our horizons. We aim at setting new impulses for your project work and enhance acceptance for specific challenges in different biogeographical regions. The meeting allows for both exchange of knowledge and networking of European forest nature conservation projects. It further promotes the exchange of experts from different professions, among other, forest and nature conservation managers.

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