N8. Forest expansion, landscape dynamics and ecosystem services in Europe
João Carlos Azevedo (Instituto Politécnico de Bragança), firstname.lastname@example.org
Pinar Pamukcu-Albers (Nature Conservation Centre)
Dolors Armenteras (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
This seminar will address forest expansion and its impacts on landscape pattern, functioning and the wellbeing of society at several scales. The seminar will provide a science-based background to debate: (i) the role of forests in the process of increasing socioecological and climate resilience in Europe, (ii) the processes of transformation in forest cover in Europe and their relations to landscape sustainability and resilience, and (iii) the participation of forest and landscape scientists and practitioners in forest landscape change and their contribution to improving ecosystem services.
Forests in Europe expanded very rapidly from early 20th century to the present day. Europe is currently the region in the world where forest cover is the largest, both assessed as area and in percentage of the land. In addition, the prospects for further expansion are high according to international and national forest, environmental and development policies (e.g., EU Forest Strategy; European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement) as well as ongoing socioeconomic processes that result in increasing land available to natural reforestation or planting.
The expansion of forests in Europe has direct impacts on landscape pattern, affecting also plant and animal species’ habitat availability and configuration. Also a series of ecological processes are affected, such as hydrological processes, carbon dynamics or fire disturbances, processes with an impact on society through their effects on the supply of a large array of ecosystem services.
In this seminar, we propose to address forest expansion from the point of view of the changes it has caused and will cause on landscape pattern, on ecological systems functioning and on wellbeing of society at several scales. We invite participation both from within the forest landscape ecology community and other communities with an interest in forests and landscape ecology.
Our overall aim with this seminar is to provide a science-based background for debating the role of forest systems in the process of increasing socioecological and climate resilience in Europe and in individual countries. We will focus on the processes of transformation in forest cover in Europe and how this relates to overall landscape sustainability and resilience in the subcontinent and at local scales. Finally, we will emphasize the participation of forest and landscape scientists and practitioners in the processes related to forest landscape change and how to avoid undesirable impacts and improve the benefits to the society.