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IN-TREE policy event in Brussels on 5th of December 2016
In the context of forest and landscape management, the use of introduced tree species is an important and controversial topic. On one hand, the species can provide an opportunity for timber production and for adapting the species composition within forests so that forests can better cope with the changing climate, while on the other hand, such species may cause biodiversity loss and disturbance to native ecosystems.
The project In-tree by the European Forest Institute (EFI) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany collected information and enhanced understanding and knowledge on the topic of introduced tree species in European context.
A scientific conference was held at Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland 2-4 November 2016. The event brought together scientists, practitioners and policy makers to discuss the effects of introduced and invasive tree species on European forests. The need of applicable political frameworks that allow differentiating between different situations and conditions, but also adapting to needs and requests on a local level was one of the main conclusions here. Two excursions were organised and showed impressively which consequences invasions of tree species can have and how ecosystems can be altered.
On December 5th 2016, 46 participants from 12 countries, forest associations, the European Commission and NGOs attended a policy event in the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic in Brussels. They discussed the results of the “In-Tree project - Introduced tree species in European forests: opportunities and challenges”.
The main deliverable of the project is the publication “Introduced tree species in European forests – opportunities and challenges”. The book is a compilation of scientific and practical knowledge on introduced tree species in European forests and contains contributions from 89 authors from 18 countries. An accompanying “Policy Brief”, as another crucial part of the project was produced. Participants had the opportunity to learn more about introduced tree species from the perspective of different research disciplines and practical experiences collected throughout Europe and beyond.
DG Environment presented the Annex to the EU Regulation on ‘the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species’ and the processes of how a species is designated as alien and hence added to a EU list of invasive alien species. During a panel discussion and lively interaction, the participants elaborated on options on how to best incorporate the project outcomes in view of supporting science based policy implementation. A white list of tree species that might be grown and planted was raised as well as the need for soft and hard policy measures. In summary the event showed a successful vehicle for disseminating research findings and give insight to experiences from practice to the policy level.
The project was another successful project between BMEL and EFI and showed how policy support can function while practitioners and researchers are involved.