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Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park, 19-21 October 2022

The II Seminar of the LIFE RedBosques_Clima project was held in Campillo de Ranas from 19 to 21 October, with the participation of 35 people from 11 Autonomous Communities and the General State Administration, including technicians from protected areas, forest managers, researchers, consultants and environmental agents.

The first day was devoted to discussing the elements that contribute to the vulnerability of forests to climate change, presenting the index developed in the context of the project. Two research projects developed in the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park, which have important connections with LIFE RedBosques_Clima, were also presented. The second day was dedicated to a field trip, to visit the sites where LIFE pilot actions will be carried out. On the third day a preview of the “quality standard for adaptation actions in forests” was presented, a document that will propose a set of criteria for the design of adaptation measures, one of the project deliverables.

The key elements that emerged in the discussions during the seminar can be summarised as follows:

  • Forest adaptation actions to climate change have very important synergies with biodiversity conservation: maintaining or improving the conservation status of the forest ecosystem results in an improvement and/or maintenance of its adaptive capacity. In the context of protected areas, Ecosystem-based Adaptation is proposed as the most appropriate strategy to address climate challenge.
  • When developing the vulnerability assessment procedure, it is important to ensure consistency with the terminology of the IPCC and the National Adaptation Plan (in particular terms such as risk, climate hazards, vulnerability, resilience, adaptive capacity).
  • It is important to take into account future climate scenarios in the design of adaptation actions, for which the regionalised climate scenario viewer developed by the OECC is proposed.
  • To consider adaptation to climate change in a cross-cutting manner in all management actions is a priority, as well as to promote the incorporation of adaptation in the management plans of protected areas and in forest management projects.
  • Silviculture is a useful tool to improve the adaptive capacity of forests, through management with objectives aimed at improving the resilience of forest stands.
  • Adaptation actions are considered to be those aimed at promoting spatial heterogeneity (at landscape and stand scale), diversity of habitats (including wetlands and open habitats such as grasslands) and species, and increased structural complexity, as well as reducing competition by reducing density.
  • Among possible adaptation measures, non-intervention and maintenance of naturally evolving ecological processes is identified as a tool to be considered. Given the uncertainties in climate models, a call for caution and monitoring of the climate change behaviour of forest ecosystems is necessary.
  • When designing adaptation actions, it is important to consider the key ecological processes that are affected by climate risks, not only habitats and species, for which it is proposed to include a list of ecological processes based on existing literature.
  • It is important to identify adaptation practices that can bring adverse or unwanted negative effects. Some of the negative adaptation measures, were identified:
    1. Lack of analysis at regional scale and non-integration of forestry, agricultural and livestock policies, and lack of large-scale forestry planning (where to plant what),
    2. The lack of analysis of the real management capacity in very large territories,
    3. Lack of management due to lack of means, in very vulnerable forest systems (e.g. afforestation),
    4. Continuity in forest management (business as usual) without incorporating new climate scenarios and their consequences for forests,
    5. Insufficient consideration of the impacts of management practices (e.g. effects on the hydrological cycle, erosion, repercussions on other habitats or species, etc.),
  • Adaptation actions are costly. The planning process should include a prioritisation at regional level that identifies the forest ecosystems to be acted upon and the type of measures that will be most efficient.
  •  Monitoring and evaluation of results are essential components of the planning process. Adaptation measures should be accompanied by the identification of indicators to assess the extent to which they contribute to improving adaptive capacity.