"Forests at risk: Białowieża and beyond" Conference

The main aims of the conference were to raise global awareness of the urgent need to protect Białowieża Forest, the last temperate European lowland forest, from the threats of forest exploitation; and to stress wider concerns about the deep vulnerability of natural forests worldwide despite compelling evidence for the vital role they play in maintaining local and regional ecosystem function, and the services they provide for numerous rural communities.

”Forests at risk: Białowieża and beyond" Conference Participants February 2019

A four day international conference on forests at risk, organised by the Society for Conservation Biology-European Section and University of Warsaw in cooperation with the Faculty of Forest Sciences of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Wrocław and the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Science, was attended by 150 participants from 24 countries. The main aims of the conference were to raise global awaremness of the urgent need to protect Białowieża Forest, the last temperate European lowland forest, from the threats of forest exploitation; and to stress wider concerns about the deep vulnerability of natural forests worldwide despite compelling evidence for the vital role they play in maintaining local and regional ecosystem function, and the services they provide for numerous rural communities.

Prof Hobson form IUCN CEM Forestry group presented a paper on  ‘FUTURESCAPES’ AND FORWARD-THINKING POLICY ARE NECESSARY TO ALLOW FORESTS TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE ,  which highlighted the need for a more integrated, ecosystem-based approach to managing natural forests. By combining a spatially integrated planning approach with a fully participatory planning management strategy we could expect the emergence of a more adaptable and flexible process of safeguarding existing primary forests, and making space for future-natural forests. 

The conference closed with participants signing a resolution, ” Białowieża Forest: Hands off and eyes on,” which called for the cessation of all forestry operations and for the protection of the whole Białowieża Forest as a National Park.  Details of the programme, key note speakers and book of abstracts can be found on www.forestsatrisk.eu

Further information contact Professor Peter R Hobson

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