More space for innovative Mediterranean forest data partnerships

The report entitled A knowledge baseline on Mediterranean forests supported by innovation launched in July by ETC-UMA provides a highlight of what Mediterranean countries and institutions are doing to integrate new digital, satellite and Artificial Intelligence technologies into forest monitoring and management and facilitate effective forest conservation and restoration where needed.

Researchers, national and Mediterranean public bodies, international networks and practitioners got together in Malaga on 2 and 3 June 2023. The event was called upon by ETC-UMA and the European Environment Agency in the frame of the EU ERDF LifeWach ERIC Project Enbic2Lab to discuss current knowledge and challenges for the development of a Mediterranean forest typology map to assist policymaking at Mediterranean, EU, national and local level, addressing their sometimes differing needs and means available. ETC-UMA Director Dania Abdul Malak highlights “the strong need to collect, harmonize and visualize forest data and the main pressures on them can only be addressed by bringing together a multi-stakeholder leading group willing to share their knowledge, skills, resources and lessons learned for the benefit of us all”.

With voluntary contributions from EU and non-EU countries in the Mediterranean, the preparation of this first ever Mediterranean forest types map under review has followed a collaborative methodology to help harmonize remote sensing data, field work and other data collected in national forest inventories, and including the results of latest research on GIS and data analysis, modelling and visualization for forest habitats, species and indicators for the Mediterranean region.

Virginia García, Remote Sensing Expert at ETC-UMA, added “The hackathon on forest spatial data organized in 2022 and 2023 among Mediterranean countries has been an enriching capacity building opportunity for us all and for the participants themselves learning from each other. More exchanges among countries and experts are needed to adopt and benefit from this common methodology that could be applied by many others”.

Among the main agreements and steps set to move forward, participants welcomed the work implemented and its periodic update, and the setting of a Mediterranean forest and innovation group. The group’s goal is to help coordinate potential partnerships and funding to support the efforts implemented at institutional and national levels with a common Mediterranean ecosystem-based approach vision. It will aim to conform voluntary collaborations to provide new knowledge and answers to the needs of forest users. Actions prioritised vary from guiding forest resilience actions to cope with climate change challenges to identifying approaches to sustainable use of wood and related resources, including priorities for the establishment of new protected areas and the allocation of funding resources for enhanced monitoring, management and restoration at various scales.


More info: Virginia García

Download the report: A knowledge baseline on Mediterranean forests supported by innovation

Mediterranean speakers at the International Workshop – Malaga, 2-3 June 2023

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