Regional conference held in the framework of the EU financed Project “Increasing the resilience of forest ecosystems against climate change in the South Caucasus Countries through forest transformation” | WWF

Regional conference held in the framework of the EU financed Project “Increasing the resilience of forest ecosystems against climate change in the South Caucasus Countries through forest transformation”

Posted on 07 March 2013    
© WWF
Regional conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia on 27 February 2013 in the framework of the EU financed Project on “Increasing the resilience of forest ecosystems against climate change in the South Caucasus Countries through forest transformation”.

The main objective of the conference was to exchange information and share the experience among senior forest engineers, forest ecologists and other stakeholders in the region on climate change impacts on forests and best practice in forest transformation. The conference was designed as a forum for discussing the range of measures appropriate for forest stands in the target countries, in particular measures already implemented within the framework of the project and measures to pilot in future.

The conference was aimed at strengthening participant’s knowledge about climate change impacts on forests and of transformation strategies so that they would be able to develop policies that increase the resilience of forests in the region and to act for support of these policies from ministers and other relevant agencies.

The conference action targeted policy makers in the forestry administrations of the target countries. 35 people participated, including experts from the forest administrations and academic institutions of the target countries, from international organizations active in the target countries, and two experts from EU countries with knowledge of climate change impacts on forests and experience with transformation measures.

In final session the conference revisited points which had been raised earlier in the day and in particular about the impacts of the Project and the sustainability of the impacts. Summing up, the following points were noted:

i) Climate change will have significant impacts on forest in the region and the negative impacts of climate change will almost certainly outweigh any positive impacts.
ii) In the framework of the Project measures are being taken at a number of pilot sites to transform monoculture stands that are particularly susceptible to climate change into structurally diverse stands of mixed species.
iii) Transformation measures – fencing, and planting, sowing, releasing natural regeneration and ancillary operations – are already well established at the Project’s pilot sites.
iv) The selection of the species and provenances which will be planted or sown in the process of forest transformation is very important. Future climate conditions need to be taken into account when deciding which species and provenances to use.
v) As a general rule natural regeneration of native species should be nurtured because natural regeneration is a good indicator of the site’s suitability for the species in question.
vi) Grazing pressure needs to be managed to allow natural regeneration and to prevent damage to young trees. Forest managers need to engage with the people who depend on their livestock for their livelihoods and who have become accustomed to using forest stands for grazing.
vii) In order that the impacts of forest transformation measures will be sustained, the seedlings that are established by the measures need to be tended. Projects such as the present project need to obtain reasonable guarantees from the owners of the forests in question regarding subsequent maintenance.
viii) The subsequent development of sample stands in which transformation measures have been carried out needs to be monitored so that we can learn lessons and adapt our approaches to transformation accordingly.
ix) In order to go beyond small scale pilot projects such as the present Project the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia need to elaborate and implement national strategies for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change on forests.

For more details please refer to the Conference Report.

Conference presentations could be downloaded from this site:

01-M.Dzneladze - Presentation
02-R.Schulzke - Presentation
03-M.Garforth - Presentation
04-H.Neuner - Presentation
05-A.Alaverdyan - Presentation
06-E.Askerov - Presentation
07-N.Harutyunyan - Presentation
08-L.Margania - Presentation
09-W.Benneckendorf - Presentation
10-I.Osepashvili - Presentation

For further information please contact:

Malkhaz Dzneladze
Regional Coordinator, EU ENRTP Caucasus Project
WWF-Caucasus
Tel.: +995 32 2237500
mdzneladze@wwfcaucasus.org

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