Mediterranean forest area on the rise but increasingly in jeopardy

28 November 2018

Mediterranean forest area on the rise but increasingly in jeopardy

The Mediterranean forest area has increased by two percent between 2010 and 2015, resulting in a rise of 1.8 million hectares – about the size of Slovenia, says a new FAO-Plan Bleu report – The State of Mediterranean Forests.

But forests in the Mediterranean have also been considerably affected by degradation and are increasingly in jeopardy from climate change, population rise, wildfires, and water scarcity, the report warns.

“Mediterranean forests have long been adapting to pressures caused by human development. But never have these pressures been so extreme as they are now,” said Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department.

“Unless we do more to combat forest degradation, more than 500 million people across 31 countries and three continents will soon face a wide range of economic, social and environmental problems,” added Mitsugi.

Solutions to forest degradation

The report urges countries to scale up the restoration of forests and landscapes. In particular, it recommends:

  • Thinning and planting mixed tree species to reduce droughts’ impacts
  • New firefighting policies that look beyond suppressing fires and include preventative vegetation management, preparedness and restoration activities
  • A regional forest strategy and common policies
  • Strengthening forest value chains
  • Mediterranean forests are already part of the green economy, but their contributions could be maximized if green economy-related strategies place greater focus on forests
  • Increasing forests, parks, and vegetable gardens in urban areas
  • Creating stronger private-public partnerships for forest management
  • Applying FAO’s guidelines on restoring degraded forests and landscapes

The report covers 27 countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Turkey.

Read and download the report State of Mediterranean Forests 2018

Original source: FAO
Published on 27 November 2018