Forest Fires and Climate Change: joint event in European Parliament
On 20 March 2019, MEP Nuno Melo (EPP, PT) and MEP Andrzej Grzyb (EPP, PL) hosted a conference on Climate Change and Forest Fires in Europe. The conference was jointly organised by CEPF, COPA-COGECA, ELO and EUSTAFOR and addressed the link between climate change, forest fire and how sustainable forest management can contribute to the mitigation of both phenomena. Speakers included among others JRC expert, five Directors from the European Commission and forestry experts from different regions of the European Union. The event was moderated by Inazio Martínez de Arano, Head of the EFI-MED office.

The discussion started with an in-depth introduction on the links between climate change and GHG emissions from forest fires and how they influence each other’s. Climate change effects on forests are already witnessed in Europe. Forest fires are more numerous, of greater importance, spread all over the EU, and in the worst case leading to deadly megafires. Best practices and practical examples were showcased by experts from Portugal, Poland and Sweden. Representatives of the European Commission presented the  EU policies and actions which aim at tackling the issue among which the EU Forestry Strategy, the CAP and Rural Development fund, LIFE projects and rescEU.  The discussion also addressed forest fire prevention and preparedness including tackling land abandonment, decreasing amount of biomass in forests, increasing public awareness, and addressing forest structure and composition. In this context, sustainable forest management is one of the key components.

Ahead of this event, representatives of European forest owners and managers released a joint statement calling for a clear and firm engagement from all relevant policy-makers and stakeholders at national and European level to remain fully dedicated to further promote sustainable forest management and multifunctional role of forests.

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