On April 2017, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council’s (EASAC’s) published the 32th Policy Report “Multi-functionality and sustainability in the European Union’s forests”.
This report points out that the principles of sustainable forest management (SFM) applied in the EU recognise the multi-functionality of forests and the need to maintain the ecological functions of forests and their ecosystem services, while fulfilling their economic and social functions. However, Europe’s forest ecosystems are already under pressure due to existing impacts of climate change and forest management, and are expected to become more stressed in the future. In addition to climate change, human efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change can both positively and negatively affect biodiversity and other ecosystem services. Our analyses thus shows tensions between some of the objectives of SFM—especially between demands for increased extraction of biomass from forests and the contributions made by the same biomass in situ to soil fertility, biodiversity and protective functions. Other synergies and trade-offs exist in the way in which forests’ interaction with climate change mitigation is managed.