Mixed sub-humid Mediterranean forests are ecosystems with great relevance at European level and worldwide. The foreseeable effects of climate change are expected to have a strong impact on the value and functions of such forests. These effects will be aggravated by a number of factors, including: the prevalence of species poorly adapted to severe droughts; the low profitability of their management and the subsequent abandonment of traditional forestry practices; their location, in many cases, in highly populated and urbanised areas; a lack of public awareness; and the lack of integration of forest management and climate change adaptation into local and regional policies.
The main aim of the project is to contribute to the adaptation to climate change of European mixed sub-humid Mediterranean forests by increasing their resilience, ensuring their conservation and enhancing their productive, environmental and social functions. In particular, the project aims to: Develop, implement and demonstrate innovative forest management techniques designed to increase the resilience and intrinsic adaptation capacity of different types of sub-humid Mediterranean forests. The project will test these silvicutural techniques on pilot demonstration forest stands; Develop new tools for integrating the adaptation to climate change of sub-humid Mediterranean forests in the policy and legal framework related to forest management, such as enhanced local policy actions where this type of forest is located in areas highly dependent on its social and environmental functions; Develop new tools to strengthen the economics of forest management, linked to the products that sub-humid Mediterranean forests can provide, in order to foster economic sustainability of mid- and long-term forest management aimed at climate change adaptation, and to prevent the abandonment of forest activities; and Transfer implemented techniques and developed tools to regional and European stakeholders (forest owners and managers, public bodies, companies and decision-makers) from areas hosting sub-humid Mediterranean forests, in order to improve the long-term management and conservation of these habitats, to raise social awareness about the relevance of the problems addressed within the project and to maintain sustainable economic activities that guarantee the conservation of these forests.
Expected results: The project will test innovative silvicultural models on 177 ha of pilot demonstration forest stands, distributed across four areas representative of the bioclimatic gradient and the diversity of sub-humid Mediterranean forests and the problems that they face regarding climate change. It is expected that this will lead to the following results: Reducing competition between trees, whilst increasing their vitality and water use efficiency; Increasing the structural diversity and complexity of the forests in the pilot stands; and Increasing forest biodiversity.
Additional expected results include: The cataloguing and dissemination to opinion leaders and business sectors that may find useful added-value products from sub-humid Mediterranean forests; Design of a pilot system for the logistics and commercialisation of products from these stands, accepted and validated by local forest owners; Improvement of the forest legal framework in order to integrate the management of sub-humid Mediterranean forests to climate change adaptation actions; Transferability achieved through targeted involvement of stakeholders, including at least 215 specialised participants in dissemination and training activities; Having the innovative silvicultural models included in the Guidelines for Sustainable Forest Management in Catalonia (ORGEST) system; Active participation of at least five municipalities in the development of the project actions; and At least 10 municipalities attending the communication and dissemination actions.