Forests are the green lungs of our planet. At the same time, our native forests are a habitat of numerous creatures, an environment of rich biodiversity, a place of recreation for humans and a storage for large amounts of CO2 in soils and biomass. Especially in steep alpine terrain, forests have an important protective function against mudflows and avalanches. Local timber is an important natural resource for construction materials for buildings, energy supply and woodcrafts, supporting the economic sector with a rich tradition and promising future while contributing to CO2 reduction through substitution, short transport routes, and product storage. Without any doubt, the Alpine Forest is a multi-talent that provides a very broad quantity of services. Due to its manifold importance for nature and man, the forest is at the core of several scientific disciplines and policy areas.
Based on the work programs of the EUSALP Action Groups 2, 6, 7 and 9, all related to the topic of forest and wood in the Alpine region, the workshop discussed the multi-functionality of the Alpine forests and timber. Advisory experts from various disciplines and projects provided further input on current developments in the forest and wood sector in the EUSALP area. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the synergies between the work programs of the single Action Groups and to identify interrelations and potential conflicts of interest at an early stage so to be able to deal with them productively in the future.
The workshop consisted of three parts: Pitching – Discussion tables – wrap-up. At the beginning of the workshop each Action Group gave a short elevator pitch to inform the participants about activities and ongoing projects in the field of timber and forests. The pitching tackled the following topics:
Elevator pitch Action Group 2: “Improving the use of local wood: an asset for economy and ecological transition in the Alpine region", Magalie Santamaria, Regional Council Auvergne-Rhône Alpes
Elevator pitch Action Group 6: “The sustainable cascadic use of forest resources”, Christian Hoffmann, Institute for Regional Development, Eurac Research
Elevator pitch Action Group 7: “Timber and more: From forest functions to green infrastructure”, Jörg Ewald, University of Applied Sciences, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf
Elevator pitch Action Group 9: “Sustainable construction and wood”, Ulrich Santa, Energy Agency South Tyrol-CasaClima
After the pitching session, four cross-sectorial discussion tables were organized to discuss specific topics relevant for the Alpine timber/forest sector. The tables focused on the following four issues:
Discussion table 1: Determining factors for the sustainable use of wood in the Alpine economy (focus sector: construction)
Discussion table 2: Multifunctionality of forests in the face of climate change
Discussion table 3: Green Infrastructure, forests and urban life styles in the Alps: An opportunity for climate change adaptation?
Discussion table 4: Governance - “Initiating a macro-regional cross-sectorial cooperation”
The outcomes of the discussions were presented in a final plenary wrap-up session.
Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash