Closer-to-Nature Forest Management is a concept proposed in the EU Forest Strategy for 2030, which aims to improve the conservation values and climate resilience of multifunctional, managed forests in Europe. Building on the latest scientific evidence, a new From Science to Policy study from EFI, attempts to define the concept based on a set of seven guiding principles. It also outlines a framework/checklist for flexible European-wide implementation of the concept. The authors also explore the current pressures on forest biodiversity as well as on the health of, and resilience in, managed forests. They examine existing nature-oriented forest management approaches in Europe and analyse their ability to support biodiversity, their stability and adaptability to uncertain future conditions. Finally, they evaluate the barriers and enablers for implementation and presents a list of existing networks that can be used to assist the dissemination of Closer-to-Nature Forest Management throughout Europe.
Lessons for implementing this new concept include:
1. Different regions need different management approaches
2. Learn from the past and consolidate existing networks and demonstrations
3. Use adaptive management as a way to tackle uncertainties
4. Closer-to-Nature Forest Management is not a quick-fix, long-term measures are needed
5. We need to review existing subsidy and taxation regimes for private owners
6. We need to develop and use new technologies and tools
Finally, there are still some uncertainties about the effect of certain elements of Closer-to-Nature Forest Management on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem health, and how they will affect other ecosystem services including wood production under different management conditions throughout Europe. This calls for more collective learning, experimentation and research.