Resilience research

Resilience Programme

The Resilience Programme conducts research and provides policy support on “Forest Resilience”. We investigate forest related socio-ecological systems and their ability to cope with change.

Our strategic topics are:

  • The impact of global change and related risks on forest socio-ecological systems
  • Policies and forest management practices to enhance forest biodiversity
  • The rural forest: policies and management practices to enhance the resilience of rural areas
  • The urban forest: policies and management practices to enhance the resilience of urban areas - from green infrastructure to wood construction
  • Resilience stewardship

For a further elaboration of these topics please see the respective key priorities in EFI’s strategy implementation plan.

The impacts of global socio-economic and environmental change increasingly affect forests in Europe and beyond. Climate change will greatly alter forest ecosystems, which necessitates new thinking about their adaptation, and about the importance of forests and forest products for climate change mitigation. Global population growth and economic development, the progressing urbanization of society together with a globalizing forest based bioeconomy alter the demand for many forest ecosystem services and products. In the near future 80% of Europe’s citizen will live in urban areas. Their material and immaterial demands will be decisive for the future of forests, the forest-based sector and all related socio-economic activities.

At the same time, forests will remain essential for protecting biodiversity and providing resources like water, soil and fresh air. While cultural ecosystem services linked to recreation, education, and spiritual values are of increasing importance for urbanizing societies, the transition to renewable energy and material use including new and innovative forest based products will drive the demand for wood. Forest governance and management will constantly be challenged to balance the demand and supply of the diversity of forest ecosystem goods and services across Europe and beyond.

EFI's Resilience Programme addresses these challenges, involving society, forest practitioners and policy makers. We define resilience as the ability of forest related socio-ecological systems to respond to change in a manner that maintains critical interrelations (ecosystem functions/services/goods) within the systems.

Together with our network of associated research partners, we address three key questions:

  • How do socio-economic and ecological changes affect forest related socio-ecological systems, how do they evolve over time and how do they interact?
  • When and how do these changes threat the resilience of forest related socio-ecological systems?
  • What are possible governance and management responses?

In this thematical framework, we are currently coordinating various projects:

In addition, we contribute to further projects:


Head of Programme: Elisabeth Pötzelsberger

View the list of staff