The Pyrenean forest, covering more than 50% of the mountain region, is closely tied to the history of rural society in the Pyrenees in the sense that many social and economic challenges are directly related to the evolution of natural environments and the factors that condition them. Climate change, therefore, can significantly alter the evolution of these environments, including forest ecosystems.
These mountain forests also play an important role in protecting property and persons (roads, housing, industrial and tourism infrastructure, etc.) that can be endangered by risks that are, in turn, evolving.
Flooding and more common extreme weather phenomenon can impact geological structures leading to an increase in natural hazards. Floods, landslides, rock falls, and avalanches are the main hazards affecting the entire mountain range.
Given the important role forests play in mitigating these natural hazards, the actions undertaken within the project under the ‘Forests’ and ‘Natural hazards’ lines of action shall be dealt with separately.
Work carried out under the ‘Forests’ line of action shall primarily serve to prepare a report, of a historical and regulatory nature, on the state of the forest and to facilitate a spatial classification indicating the protection the Pyrenees mountains provide. The action shall then specifically focus its efforts on the influence of climate change on the forest and its protective role on the mountain, and analyse how impacts may affect forest ecosystems, with special emphasis on tracking impact indicators of climate change.
To this end, the action prescribes the following activities:
- apply a French-Spanish cartography methodology in ‘reference zones’ distributed throughout the Pyrenees (river basin scale) that serves to characterize hazards, strong points, and the protection role played by forests;
- select ‘intervention sites’ where different intervention techniques against natural hazards can be analysed and tested;
- select permanent tracking plots (within and outside of our areas), create a common tracking protocol for indicators, and proceed with initial samples and measurements of indicators. This initial report shall serve as a reference for future monitoring of observed changes;
- propose different adaptations measures according to context.
This work shall aid in defining criteria and making recommendations to better manage mountain forests depending on the different contexts (geographical, socioeconomic, ecological, and forestry), taking into account the ‘climate change’ factor.
The work carried out shall be manifested in:
- a technical report intended for planners (including methodology used, results, an assessment of the protection level provided by mountain forests, and management guidelines);
- a technical report intended for the OPCC and its partners (including methodology, results, and conclusions about indicators and tracking).
The goal is to provide information on how the Pyrenean mountain forest is evolving in the light of climate change and how this evolution will affect the forests’ role as protection agents. Work carried out shall mainly serve to propose adaptation measures (for example, guidance in forest management) that can be applied to global adaptation strategies for climate change.
- create a report on the historical evolution of Pyrenean mountain forests and on rules and regulations regarding types of protection forests;
- synthetic identification of natural hazards that exist in mountain areas; reconcile vocabulary used by different French and Spanish stakeholders;
- technical exchange; determine a common mapping methodology to be applied in reference zones (7 or 8 zones at basin level, distributed throughout the Pyrenees mountain region).
- shared mapping at a 1/50,000 scale (even 1/30,000) for reference zones;
- foster awareness among local stakeholders and those responsible for protecting forest populations;
- propose a network of permanent tracking plots to monitor effects of climate change;
- define a shared methodology and perform geomorphological, bioclimatic, forestry, ecological, and socioeconomic diagnostics at different scales (certain variables may refer to reference zones, intervention sites, as well as tracking plots inside and outside intervention sites (or even outside reference zones));
- propose forest intervention techniques against natural hazards;
- create a common tracking protocol for indicators; identify climate change indicators;
- define criteria for managing mountain forests that take ‘climate change’ into account;
- develop guidelines for forest management based on different contexts and ‘climate change’;
- adapt and align methods for bioclimatic diagnosis;
- technical reports.
1. Historical, policy, and regulatory report on types of protection forests.
2. Consideration criteria for natural hazards associated with mountain forests.
3. Implement a cross-border cartographical methodology highlighting ‘risks/strong points’ and mapping at a scale of 1/50,000 (or even 1/30,000) for reference zones.
4. Select ‘intervention sites’ in reference zones.
5. Agree upon and select permanent tracking plots.
6. Parameters and diagnostics.
7. Analyse and commence intervention techniques against natural hazards: the forest in terms of strong point (storms, fire, forest diseases, animal life) and in terms of influence over hazards (flooding, avalanche, landslides and rock fall).
8. Operational implementation of tools and methods to track climate change indicators (common tracking protocol in plots).
9. Take inventory of initial state of tracking plots (measurements, information).
10. Exchange and define criteria to manage mountain forests.
11. Develop management guidelines based on contexts.
12. Adapt methods for bioclimatic diagnosis.
13. Draw up technical reports.
Climate change indicators
Preselected indicator to track CC
Actions for implementation
Detect diseases and weak points
Once tracking plots have been selected and main variables diagnosed (action 3), the action proposes to develop a common transboundary protocol to monitor preselected indicators (methods, tools, cost, proposed additional indicators, etc.).
|Detect changes in distribution|
|Vertical and phenological trends of forest (Beech, Black Pine, and Scots Pine)|
|Trends in hazards and consequences with techniques to improve protection functions of forests|
Trends in the incidence of forest fires
For this action, GEIE and partners : National Forest Office, National Centre for Forest Property (CRPF) - delegations Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrenees and Institute for Forest Development, Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia and SODEMASA shall ensure proper action implementation.
• GEIE FORESPIR