Coupling water, fire and climate resilience with biomass production from forestry to adapt watersheds to climate change

LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS is a project co-funded by the European Union’s LIFE+ Programme to promote a forest management approach at the watershed scale that improves forests resilience to wildfires, water scarcity, environmental degradation and other effects induced by climate change

Climate change and forest ecosystems

The effects of climate change and climate variability on forest ecosystems are evident around the world and impacts are unavoidable, at least in the short and medium term. Climate change affects forest ecosystems negatively by making forests less resilient to disturbances, such as the reduction of plant growth, the frequency and the intensity of pest and disease outbreaks, wildfires and wind storms.

The effects on European forests ecosystems

Between 1950 and 2000 in Europe an average of 35 million m3 wood was damaged annually by disturbances such as storms (53%) and wildfires (16%). The years 2003 and 2007 demonstrated that forest fires can be devastating when large scale droughts prevail. Climate change will increase the number and severity of droughts in many parts of Europe and will affect the availability of water resources. During the last 30 years, the total EU area affected by water scarcity and droughts doubled from 6 to 13%, economic losses of this increase were estimated at 100 billion Euro.

Latest from the project

Resilient Forests presented at FAO work group on mountain watersheds

At the 32nd meeting of the FAO work group for the Management of Mountain Watersheds, IIAMA UPV Researcher María González presented the work programme and the activities of LIFE Resilient Forests.

The transpiration of groundwater by forests in semiarid regions should be factored in by hydrogelogical models

The transpiration of groundwater resources is a fundamental aspect to be considered in hydrological modelling, in order to obtain an accurate representation of the availability of water resources in a watershed and to improve our knowledge of the hydrological cycle.

Eco-hydrologic forest management improves soil conservation in semiarid regions

Sustainable forest management enhances soil conservation and increases the availability of groundwaters of forests located in semi-arid regions.

IPCC study highlights the role of sustainable forest management for climate adaptation

The IPCC report released last August confirms that ustainable forest management can contribute to climate adaptation and reverse the impacts of climate change on land egradation

Adapting local solutions to global challenges – Episode 8

Antonio and Maria talk about the initial results of the project and how these can be transferred from local to a wider scale in the Mediterranean areas and in Central Europe.

Restoring Tree Growth – Episode 7

At the experimental plots we can clearly see the difference between an unmanaged forest originated 27 years ago after a wildfire and a stand of managed forest.

Visiting the Experimental Forest Plots – Episode 6

At this experimental site inside researchers are measuring the amount of water available to feed the trees in a manged forest plot, versus an unmanaged one.

Declining Tree Circles – Episode 5

Thanks to the analysis of the tree-trunk-slice it is possible to observe the real growth of the trees.

Managed Forests Versus Unmanaged – Episode 4

Antonio and Maria explain why it is important to adopt a sustainable management system to make forests more resilient to climate disturbances.

Coupling water, fire and climate resilience with biomass production in forestry to adapt watershed to climate change

This study analyses to which extent semi-arid forest management for water is effective and viable at catchment scale, and how it can be improved when combined with biomass production and fire risk reduction.


  Decision Support System

LIFE Resilient Forest will develop a system to introduce climate change adaptation strategies in forest management across Europe. This tool will be based on a successful approach already adopted by the municipality of Serra (Valencia, Spain).


A replication strategy will be developed for transferring this approach, so it can be applied elsewhere across Europe.


Networking activities will be developed so the project can take advantage of other successful initiatives related to forest management and climate change, and to facilitate the transfer of information on forest management and climate change initiatives.


The support system will be adapted to different conditions and demonstrated at three locations in Germany, Portugal and Spain, both at sub-catchment and at catchment scale.


The project will conduct a complete monitoring of the impacts, including a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the system, to prove the environmental soundness of the approach and its socioeconomic effects in rural areas.


LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS will carry out a wide dissemination action to reach out both public and private stakeholders and to achieve a positive impact on regulations and policies for forest management across Europe.

Stay Informed

LIFE RESILIENT FOREST will publish regular newsletters to keep you informed about the project’s activities, results and events and about climate resilient forestry. Sign up to our mailing list and follow our socials.

1 + 8 =