Since the 1950s the forest area in Europe has increased by more than 300,000 km2. Part of this increase is by spontaneous forest establishment, especially in areas where farming ceases and people move away to cities. How does this forest development happen? What does it mean for forest character and functioning? And how do these new forests contribute to climate change mitigation, erosion control, or other benefits provided by nature, in addition to biodiversity?
These are some of the questions that were addressed in the SPONFOREST project. This research was funded by BiodivERsA, the European network that programmes and funds research on biodiversity and ecosystem services across European countries and territories.
I identified the project’s main outcomes to communicate the key messages to policymakers and other stakeholders across Europe. To this end I produced a policy brief, a short synthesis presenting the key messages and identified the best channels to reach out to those making decisions on forest management.
Download the policy brief.