Impact of Climate Change on Forests – Experts across CEE Discuss the Challenges Faced by the Forestry Sector

Bratislava, 15 October 2021 – Forestry experts, scientists, corporate and NGO representatives gather on 26th October in Bratislava to discuss the impact of climate change on forests in Central and Eastern Europe, how forests adapt to climate change, how this affects the forestry business and how EU policies tackle the issue of climate change in forests. The conference is organized in the framework of the 10th EUSDR Annual Forum, the Slovak EUSDR Presidency and WWF Slovakia as the opening conference of the CLIMAFORCEELIFE project.

The conference is organized in a hybrid format and can be followed online with simultaneous interpretation. Participants can register free of charge via the conference’s website.

Forests of Central and Eastern Europe are on a crossroads. As a result of the climate change the forests and forestry systems, which have developed over the past 300 years of planned forest management will likely to change. Several scientific studies forecast shift in forest vegetation zones which determine climate conditions favourable for growing of main economic wood species such as oaks, beech, spruce etc. The area of forests suitable for timber production is expected to decrease in the upcoming decades, and in some cases growing of any woody vegetation may be considered as a success. The extent to which native wood species may adapt to changed natural conditions is unknown. However, the experience suggests that the most vital individuals of native origin able to adapt to changed climate may provide the best genetic material for the future forests.

The conference is co-hosted by WWF Slovakia and serves as the opening conference of the CLIMAFROCEELIFE (Climate-smart Forest Management for Central and Eastern Europe) project. The project, which will last until the end of 2027, will review selected forest management models currently used in Central and Eastern Europe from the viewpoint of climate change and will test the application of climate-smart forestry measures in demonstration sites in Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia. The climate-smart forestry methods tested during the project will be presented to foresters of the region in field trips, workshops, trainings and via publications. The project also aims to foster inclusion of climate-smart forestry measures into local and national forest and nature management plans as well as into programming documents for EU Regional Funds.

The CLIMAFORCEELIFE project covers 5 countries in Central and Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The project partners include four WWF offices (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia), the Southwestern State Forest Enterprise of Bulgaria, the Czech University of Life Sciences, the National Association of Private Forest Owners and Forest Managers from Hungary and the Forests of the Slovak Republic.

Photo: Steven Kamenar via Unsplash