Europe`s forests at a glance — a breath of fresh air in a changing climate

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Only healthy forests can supply these multiple forest ecosystem goods and services. Today, forestry in Europe aims at supporting the multiple forest functions by the sustainable management of forest resources. Sustainable forest management (SFM) is defined as 'the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems'.

Despite the consensus on guidelines, criteria and indicators, SFM is not implemented consistently throughout Europe. According to Forest Europe's recent 'State of European Forests' report, there are substantial differences among regions. It is clear that SFM needs to improve the state of Europe's forests and to ensure that they continue to fulfil their multifunctional role, while taking into account regional differences.

As climate change continues to affect Europe's forests, forest management needs to accommodate and prepare for its possible impacts. Research has identified many adaptive measures to respond to climate change. The challenge is to find out how and particularly when management changes should be implemented.

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