According to FAO stats, 25 years ago, planted forests represented 4% of the world's forested area. Today they represent almost 7% and provide at least one-third of the world's timber, so their importance should not be underestimated.
In Europe, planted forests were established for protection purposes in the 19th century. Nowadays, they are mainly intensively managed in areas with oceanic climate and fast growing species to produce wood and fibre.
This partly explains why the Planted Forests Facility – originally EFIATLANTIC, the EFI Atlantic Regional Office - is based in the Atlantic part of Europe where its temperate climate and significant precipitation are ideal for forest growth. The Facility also works with well-established networks in the Atlantic area, such as IEFC; thus benefiting from a long track record of expertise on planted forests. Furthermore, the Planted Forests Facility serves as a hub for facilitating exchange with non-European organisations dealing with the topic, such as via the IUFRO Taskforce on Sustainable Planted Forests for a Greener Future.
The future of forests relies on choices made by the foresters investing in tree planting today. However, they are faced with increasing uncertainties linked to decision-making as a result of global change; therefore it is essential to provide all kinds of decision support tools in order to produce resilient and multifunctional planted forests.
The Planted Forests Facility aims to support the multidisciplinary research effort related to planted forest issues. It connects knowledge to action by fostering knowledge exchange and capacity building about planted forests with end users, such as forest owners and managers, authorities and policy makers or land use planners. Finally, it works to raise the awareness in society of planted forests, providing facts and figures about their roles and properties.
The Planted Forests Facility contributes mainly to the topics of EFI's Resilience Programme, as well as to the two other EFI programmes.
- The impacts of global change and related risks. The capacity to help adapt and the provision of forest ecosystem services and products.
Facility focus: specific risk evolution and adaptive capacity to climate change; improvement of management practices (from stand to landscape) to address related risks providing goods and services.
- Strategies and management practices to enhance resilience of rural areas to climate change
Facility focus: The role of planted forests in supporting resilient rural territories, including improving knowledge of the genetic resources used.
- The future demand and supply of forest products, forest biomass and ecosystem services, and their implications for sustainable forest management as well as for afforestation and plantation forestry.
Facility focus: The role of planted forests and forestry in of the intensification of wood production and mobilisation for developing an ambitious bioeconomy. Understanding the value chains connected to planted forests and assessing their sustainability and profitability.
- Forest and land use conflicts and synergies, including an understanding of key societal demands a and the trade - offs between forest ecosystem services, products and land uses
Facility focus: The role of planted forests in land use competition and perceptions of planted forests.
Head of Facility: Christophe Orazio