Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European
Environment Agency, has warned EU ministers of increasing
demands on Europe's forest resources - recommending a management
approach which takes into account the wide range of services
provided by forests.
Forests are vital to policy discussions on biodiversity and
will be one of the key themes in the upcoming international
conference on biodiversity - namely, the 9th Meeting of the
Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Convention on Biological
Diversity - which will be held on 19–30 May 2008 in Bonn,
Ahead of this conference, Professor McGlade addressed the
EU ministers of environment in Brdo, Slovenia, where she outlined
future challenges facing Europe's forests. "There is
an increasing demand on forest resources for biomass production.
This contribution to Europe's energy supply need not necessarily
conflict with biodiversity or ecosystem conditions. However,
we must ensure that the way we use forest biomass has minimal
negative impact on forest biodiversity" - said Professor
Europe's total forest area has increased over the last decades
and around one-third of Europe is now covered by forests.
Around 25% of this total is excluded from wood harvesting
because of its special importance for biodiversity. The total
protected forest area has also increased considerably over
the last few years.
Despite these increases, significant areas of Europe's forest
remain fragmented into smaller patches. This fragmentation
puts animal and plant species at risk and is expected to be
aggravated by climate change. Adapting forests to climate
change requires strengthening connectivity between forest
The European Environment Agency is to present an assessment
report of Europe's forests and ecosystem conditions at COP
9 in Bonn.
In the long run, broader discussions will also include research
on the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This
upcoming study - known as the 'Potsdam Initiative'
- is supported by G8 and five leading emerging economies -
Brazil, India, China, Mexico and South Africa - known as 'G8+5'.
It will be one of the issues on the agenda during COP 9.
To download Prof. McGlade's speech at the Informal Council
in Slovenia - Click