The forests of the six beneficiary countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey) cover a total surface area of some 19 million ha.
The contribution made by these Mediterranean wooded areas to the fight against poverty, the socioeconomic development of rural areas, food security for residents and the preservation of global or regional public goods no longer needs to be demonstrated. Yet they suffer from increasing anthropogenic pressure from urbanization, cultivation, the collection of firewood and grazing. There are, in addition, the impacts of climate change, which lead to an increased risk of fires and pest attacks, but also to the acceleration of problems of soil erosion and desertification.
However, the current strategies for the management of wooded areas do not take the impacts of climate change sufficiently into account, due to the lack of specific knowledge that can be directly used by managers. The value of goods and services provided by forests is not sufficiently recognized.
These challenges can only be addressed by improving coordination between actors. It is therefore essential to strengthen territorial modes of governance by taking more account of the needs and constraints of the user communities of wooded areas. At a more global level, the project fits in with the regional cooperation frameworks: the FAO Committee on Mediterranean forestry issues – Silva Mediterranea – and the Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests (CPMF).
The project is based on five components:
- Production of data and development of decision-making and management tools on the vulnerability of Mediterranean wooded ecosystems to the impacts of climate change and in terms of adaptation capacity;
- Estimate of the economic and social value of the goods and services rendered by Mediterranean forest ecosystems, by studying the many issues related to changes in the environment and their potential impacts on socioeconomic development;
- Development of participatory and territorial modes of governance for Mediterranean forest ecosystems;
- Optimization and enhancement of the mitigation role of Mediterranean forests (carbon sinks);
- Contribution to the coordination and communication activities at CPMF.
- Contribute to the local, economic and social development of the six beneficiary countries by preparing participatory development plans, focusing on taking better account of the environmental goods and services provided by the forest. A financial valuation of the carbon sequestration service, either voluntary or mandatory, is planned. In addition to its implementation on pilot sites, the methodological framework which is being developed needs to be able to be reused by countries which can thereby optimize their management of forest resources.
- Strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the forest sector of beneficiary countries of CPMF. The project ensures there is an optimal conservation of biodiversity, and strengthens and adapts the sustainable management practices of Mediterranean forests. This leads to a better prevention of risks of forest fires, a limitation of potential conflicts between users, a slowdown in the degradation of water and soil quality and better account being taken of the many functions of Mediterranean forest ecosystems.