The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be the main threat to our societies, especially urban ones, and has focused on the need for functional, healthy and sustainably managed ecosystems to minimize the risks of new epidemics and its serious economic and social consequences. In this sense, the way in which those responsible for stimulating the economy and responding to challenges such as the health crisis, the loss of biodiversity, climate change or the depopulation of the rural world will determine whether we amplify or mitigate the effects that are behind these threats and challenges.
In this scenario, complex forests are a key ally that must be taken into account if we want to advance towards the necessary green recovery, given the possibilities they offer in terms of generating social value, entrepreneurship opportunities, greater resilience to global change and promotion of bioeconomy through diversification of the forest systems.
Complex forests – which include trees of different sizes, height, and age (mixed) and single species forests, but structurally-diverse (irregular) – offer a greater potential for generating environmental services than monoculture plantations (same species) or regular forests (even-aged and similar size). Traditionally, there is greater interest within the industry in promoting monoculture forests due to their productive and economic value, and they receive greater attention from the research community than complex forests. However, numerous investigations, initiatives and experiences developed in Europe show that complex forests increase, and in many cases, improve the benefits obtained from simplified forest systems.
This certainty does not exist in the case of the Sudoe environment. For this reason, the partners of COMFOR-SUDOE project (COMplex FORest) will work for the next two years in the application of cutting-edge technologies and methods in demonstration areas (Valle del Tiétar in Extremadura and model forest in Palencia, Castilla y León) to generate evidence and knowledge that serve to inform political leaders and land managers about intelligent management measures that favor the diversification of forest structures, guaranteeing the transfer of knowledge and the balance of the transnational R & D & I effort.
The focus of organizations participating in COMFOR – funded by the Interreg Sudoe Program –, is to facilitate training, education and knowledge transfer to develop an intelligent specialisation strategy and network in the conservation for the sustainable use and management of complex forests in the South West of Europe (smartCOMPLEX).
Integrated and intelligent management of complex forests and mixed-species plantations in South West Europe
1 289 211.57 €