How can protected areas adapt to climate change? Which tools available? Where to start a vulnerability assessment and how to develop an adaptation plan? These were some of the questions that were analysed in detail during the different plenaries and workshops, at last week’s EUROPARC Conference. Entitled “Climate Change; Resilient Parks”, the conference, organized bu the EUROPARC Federation, was host in Argelès-sur-Mer between the 5 – 7 October 2022.
The RedBosques_Clima team attended the conference to get inspiration, but also to contribute to knowledge share. Jose Atauri, project coordinator and member of the Climate Change Task-Force at the EUROPARC Federation, had a special participation on the “Learning from the Field Sessions”. During one entire morning, participants could get a deep glimpse on specific projects and case studies from across Europe. During this morning session, Jose was responsible to share a case study on adaptation in Mediterranean mountain landscapes, and introduced the work being carried out at Sierra de Santo Domingo Protected Landscape, in the aragonese pre-Pyrenees. To reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, the government of Aragon and the different municipalities, with the support of experts, set up a series of measures that can be grouped into:
- Increase the resilience of forests favouring greater heterogeneity. Reduce the density and continuity of pine plantations. Strict protection of mature or singular beech stands.
- Improvement of the habitat of threatened species, such as water points, identification of refuge areas and corridors.
- Improved knowledge about the effects of climate change and the adaptative capacity of ecosystems and species.
- Development of a program for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the adaptation actions carried out.
The conference was also an oportunity to learn from the experience that, over the last 4 years, the LIFE NaturAdapt project gathered. They’ve implemented vulnerability assessments and defined adaptation plans for dozens of protected areas in France. The results and all tools are accessible at https://naturadapt.com/
Old-growth forest La Massane Another important learning opportunity was the fieldtrip. This year, the team had the chance to visit an old-growth beech forest, La Massane, and learn in first-hand the monitoring criteria and tools they are using. The forest has zero human intervention and the monitoring team is making an effort to identify changes and vulnerabilities, so they can better understand mortality causes.
More than 80% of the species of fungi and invertebrates rely on dead wood to live. They were able to catalogue every single tree (either alive or death, standing or lying) in an area of 30 ha. That counts for about 15.000 elements being monitored twice a year! Soon, we will be sharing some of their key lessons. That climate chance is urgent, is of common understanding to every protected area team, but better tools and higher support are needed. That is why the RedBosques_Clima LIFE project is pilot-testing and promoting forest management with conservation objectives under the umbrella of the concept of “Ecosystem-based Adaptation”.