Mediterranean forest area on the rise but increasingly in jeopardy climate change, wildfires and water scarcity drive forest degradation.
The Mediterranean forest area has increased by two percent between 2010 and 2015, resulting in a rise of 1.8 million hectares – about the size of Slovenia, says a new FAO-Plan Bleu report « State of Mediterranean Forests 2018 ».
But forests in the Mediterranean have also been considerably affected by degradation and are increasingly in jeopardy from climate change, population rise, wildfires and water scarcity, the report warns.
“Mediterranean forests have long been adapting to pressures caused by human development. But never have these pressures been so extreme as they are now,” said Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department.
“Unless we do more to combat forest degradation, more than 500 million people across 31 countries and three continents will soon face a wide range of economic, social and environmental problems” added Mitsugi.
Elen Lemaitre-Curri, Plan Bleu’s Director said: “In a context of rapid climatic, societal and lifestyle changes in the Mediterranean, forest and tree-based solutions are critical to the region overall sustainability, with an expected impact well beyond forested areas. Upstream forests, agro-forestry, and urban trees and parks can help preserve key ecosystem services, reduce soil degradation and transition towards a circular, resource-efficient, bio-based, low carbon and socially fair green economy. Reaching this potential will require using a range of instruments, including participatory approaches, innovative economic instruments and partnerships.”