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The RESONATE Project: Investigating the Resilience of European Forests

Forests form a central plank of Europe’s new “Green Deal” policy. Now as more will be demanded from our forests, how will they cope in a changing climate? A new Horizon 2020 research project called “RESONATE” will help answer this. Jonathan Spazzi, Forestry Advisor, enlightens us here

European forests cover more than one third of the land area and play an essential role in Europe's environment, economy, and society. Forests form a central plank of Europe’s new “Green Deal” policy and a key component of our European strategy to reach zero-carbon emissions by 2050.

However mounting pressure arising from climatic changes has in recent years highlighted a range of vulnerabilities (pests, storms, droughts).

At a time when much more will be demanded from our forests, how will they cope in a changing climate? To date there is little experience on how to adapt forest management to withstand possible climate-induced disruption. There is therefore an urgent need to better understand the resilience of our forests: how can it be measured and evaluated, how can it be improved and how could this knowledge influence policy and practice?  How can we increase resilience of forest value-chains to better cope with these new challenges? Tackling these questions now is Important in order to enable prevention and preparedness to future disturbance impacts.


 Image above: Conifer and broadleaf forests in our farming landscape 

“RESONATE” has answers

To help answer these and other questions a new Horizon 2020 research project called “RESONATE” (Resilient forest value chains-enhancing resilience through natural and socio-economic responses) commenced this year. This project will aim to investigate, over the next 48 months, the “socio/ecological” resilience of European forest-systems by taking a multi-disciplinary approach.  RESONATE will investigate options on how best to future proof forest products and services while improving their ecological stability and diversity.  Researchers from 21 different forestry agencies and universities are involved.

Teagasc Forestry Development Department

Teagasc Forestry Development Department is involved as a partner in this project and Ireland will be featured as a case study. This will include a review of recent climate-change challenges experienced by our forests, assess the impact of past disturbance events leading to an evaluation of the likely impacts to our main forest products and services going forward. As part of this study a number of individual forests, representative of a range of different management approaches, will be selected to be surveyed in order to compare their resilience in relation to climate-change related stress. The synthesis of the finding will be shared with other European partners leading to best practice and policy recommendations and through targeted dissemination and outreach activities.

The ultimate aim of the project will be to generate knowledge and practices for making European forests more resilient to future climate change disturbances so that our forests might continue to fulfil their essential economic and ecological functions.

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Forests fulfil a wide range of services such as timber production, water protection, landscape, biodiversity, important to society well-being.

Find out more about the work of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department here