International Day of Forests: innovation and sustainable management to mitigate the impact of climate change

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Today marks the International Day of Forests, a date established in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly of the United Nations to highlight the importance of protecting forest areas for their role in the fight against climate change and to warn about the danger of their degradation.

The theme chosen for 2024 is “
Forests and innovation
The theme chosen for 2024 is “Forests and Innovation”, a call for the use of technology to improve the condition of forests. Thanks to innovation and technology, countries are better able to monitor and report on their forests and halt deforestation and degradation. In addition, innovation favors the restoration of ecosystems and opens up new possibilities in relation to the sustainable exploitation of their resources.

The importance of forests for the planet is unquestionable. Although they cover little more than 30% of the world’s land surface, they are home to more than 80% of the world ‘s plant and animal species. These forest stands act as carbon sinks, absorbing the equivalent of about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. In addition, many rivers and streams originate in forests, where trees act as filters and provide clean water suitable for drinking. Also, globally, more than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their survival, providing energy, food or medicine.

But despite their ecological, economic and social benefits, these ecosystems are threatened by deforestation and overexploitation of resources. The State of the World’s Forests report states that about 47 million hectares of primary forests were lost between 2000 and 2020. To avoid environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, mitigate the effects of climate change and move towards a resilient and sustainable economy, the document stresses the importance of conserving forests, restoring degraded lands and making sustainable use of these ecosystems.


In this line, the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) contributes to the improvement of the state of the environment. conservation of forests and sustainable management of forest resources through different calls for grants within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU. It has recently resolved the
for the promotion of bioeconomy projects, focused on forest management and restoration.
focused on forest management and restoration, with an endowment of 77 million euros.

From the 163 applications submitted, the following have been selected 56 projects that will contribute to the enhancement and sustainable management of the territory and forest resources, generating green jobs, which in turn contributes to addressing the demographic challenge and the conservation of natural resources, as well as fire prevention. More than half of the projects propose the development and/or diversification of some forest use, almost a third of the initiatives include integrated actions for sustainable forest management and promotion of traditional uses, and one project works on ecological restoration.

For example, Futurecork seeks to adapt and optimize the national cork sector to the current and future ecological, economic and social situation in order to position Spain on the road to recovering world leadership in the sector.

It is also necessary to take measures to improve forest biodiversity and increase forest resilience to climate change. It is therefore important to devise sustainable forest management models that are more profitable than the current ones. Plantas Olvidadas (Forgotten Plants), which develops and promotes forest food uses, focusing on the spider tree, rose hip, green pine cone, strawberry tree and acorn.

For its part, the Valorization of Ecosystem Services in the Vigo Mountains project is a crucial response to the challenge of harmonizing the social use and economic exploitation of the forests for their conservation. This initiative provides in-depth research on forest ecosystem services, creating scientific indicators and data-driven conservation strategies that enable efficient, resilient and sustainable forest management and facilitate informed decision making.

This call is aligned with the new Spanish Forestry Strategy Horizon 2050 (EFE) and the Spanish Forestry Plan 2022-2032 (PFE).