A forest lifespan can be viewed as an endless cycle from the establishment of the first seedlings, with their subsequent growth and the canopy gradually closing over, to the death and collapse of the oldest trees, opening gaps where it all begins anew. The full cycle may take several centuries, and suffer alterations from events such as forest fires or other major disturbances.

This cycle is artificially shortened by silviculture, keeping the forests at its more juvenile phases, so as to ensure a constant supply of wood. This is why old or very old stands are so rare.

A new forestry management approach, geared toward conservation, is needed for Mediterranean woodlands within the Natura 2000 Network. These new management strategies should give priority to the protection of mature stands and the promotion of the most scarce or currently non-existent features of maturity (such as deadwood, heterogeneity, species diversity, etc.). In other types of forests, oriented toward production rather than biodiversity, silviculture may also be used to boost forest maturity, so that harvesting forest resources can be compatible with higher levels of biodiversity.

Best practices for forest management

Gathering of best practices for forest management with conservation and climate change adaptation objectives
In 2018, as a result of the call promoted by LIFE RedBosques, 23 experiences and best practices of forestry activities with conservation objectives (habitats and species), or climate change adaptation objectives, have been compiled.

Technical seminar
From November 5th to November 7th 2018,  more than forty managers of Spanish forests and protected areas, representatives of national, regional and local administrations, together with invited researchers, met in Atienza (Guadalajara). The objectives of the seminar were to share the advances in the identification of mature forests, and to discuss the different options for managing forest habitats under conservation and adaptation to climate change criteria. The seminar was based on study cases contributed by the participants.

The good practices collected are stored in an open online database, accessible at: http://www.wikiconservacion.org/wiki/index.php/Buenas_prácticas_de_gestión_forestal

Demonstrative actions in Habitats of European Interest in Natura 2000

Forest management demonstrative actions with conservation and climate change adaptation goals are being executed in Els Ports Natural Park (starting in 2017). These actions are developed in three different estates and are aimed to develop forest planning with conservation goals and to execute different habitat improvements.

This action consists of 3 phases:

Phase I: Development of forest management plans
The elaboration of the management plans by the company BIOMA FORESTAL has been completed in the Clots Vall Figuera and Millers estates, and by de company ECAFIR SL in the case of the Port d’Arnes Reserve. Once drafted, the projects have been sent to the Center de la Propietat Forestal de Catalunya for formal approval which is expected in the first quarter of 2019.

Phase II: Design and execution of pilot actions for habitat improvement
Once the management plans of three pilot estates in the Parc Natural dels Ports were drawn up, management activities (silvicultural treatments) aimed at the recovery of open habitats and promote maturity attributes in stands of Pinus nigraand Pinus sylvestris have been developed in these estates.

 Phase III: Monitoring
– Evaluation of the effect of the actions for the maintenance and recovery of open spaces and of silvicultural actions to improve maturity: During the months of May and June 2018 the first planned sampling campaign was carried out (before the interventions).
– Improvement of maturity.  Previous sampling has been carried out in 45 plots in the three estates (15 plots x 3 estates).

Project Facts

Funding: European Union through the programme LIFE Environmental Governance & Information 2015.
Project reference: LIFE Redcapacita_2015 (LIFE15 GIE/ES/000809)
Total budget: 590.154 €
Duration: September 2016 – October 2019
Coordinator: Fundación Fernando González Bernáldez
Partners: Generalitat de Catalunya, CREAF, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

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