They matter for a lot of good reasons.
Nevertheless, they matter differently to different people. Reconciling the different expectations on how a forest should be like is really complicated, especially when we recognize that forests matter the most to forest dwelling organisms. And there’s a lot of them, although they rarely join international meetings on Sustainable Forest Management.
FORESTS and CO is a EU project, funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions Programme that aims at understanding trade-offs and synergies among different functions that are attributed to forests. The full title of the project is: ‘Co-Benefits and Conflicts between CO2 sequestration and biodiversity conservation in European Forests’.
Intact forests harbor large amounts of carbon and unique biodiversity, suggesting that protecting forests may benefit climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation alike. Yet, forests also provide other essential services, from timber to energy to recreation. Balancing these multiple, sometimes conflicting objectives requires understanding trade-offs and synergies among them. A key question in this context is whether schemes to maintain or increase carbon stocks through forest management actually co-benefit biodiversity. Although frequently promoted, assumptions about such co-benefits have not been rigorously assessed. FORESTS and CO will test whether policies designed to protect either biodiversity or carbon in European forestsare synergistic or conflicting .
By providing new insights into the synergies and trade-offs between carbon and biodiversity in European forests, we hope to untap unrealized potentials to mitigate climate change and to protect forest biodiversity, and thus to proceed towards a more sustainable future.