MFRA 2020: How far have we advanced and what gaps remain?

Ten years have passed since the formulation of the Mediterranean Forest Research Agenda 2011-2020 (MFRA 2020). The new knowledge generated over the past decade by a vibrant research community has revealed new questions and uncovered critical gaps that remain in our knowledge of the Mediterranean.

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MFRA 2020 MFRA 2030
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The Mediterranean region is known for its unique climate, distinct forest types, and diverse societies with profound historical and emotional linkages to the landscape. It is a cultural and biodiversity hotspot, which faces intense challenges due to climate changes. These challenges are mediated, and sometimes exacerbated by demographic changes, economic crisis and unemployment, and land-use change. Forest cover has been expanding, but forests are also more fragile. The region as a whole arguable has realistic options to cope with this fragility: pushing a transition towards a green, circular and sustainable bioeconomy will define its future development pathways. The region also faces profound uncertainty and risk of natural hazards, requiring collective and transdisciplinary attention.

Forests and rangelands can play an important role in this transition. Comprising 75 million hectares, and roughly 8.5% of the total land area in the Mediterranean, they constitute invaluable world natural heritage, hosting over 12,000 endemic plants species, including 201 endemic trees. They support urban and rural wellbeing,  providing highly appreciated goods (e.g. cork, nuts, aromatic plants, timber), and ecosystem services (e.g. recreational landscapes, carbon sequestration, watershed protection), but also disservices, as through the growing risk and occurrence of catastrophic wildfires. Moreover, their conservation and management affect the availability and quality of soil and water, which are key strategic resources for Mediterranean societies.

As we close the chapter on the MFRA 2020, and look forward to a new MFRA 2030, we have also sought to look back, identifying the most important research, significant breakthroughs and innovations that were completed within each thematic area over the past decade. We engaged the same EFIMED network and the broader Mediterranean community to reflect on how far the objectives of MFRA 2010-2020 have been met.

An overview of expert inputs regarding the success of the previous Mediterranean Forest Research Agenda 2011-2020. Experts also commented on the proposed themes for MFRA 2021-2030, providing important feedback to guide the development of new research priorities based on the achievements of the past decade.

Completed or ongoing projects from the past ten years that address the four thematic areas covered by the MFRA 2011-2020, as identified by the experts consulted in our survey. If you would like to add to this list, see below for how to contribute!

Scientific publications written in the past ten years that address the four thematic areas covered by the MFRA 2011-2020, as identified by the experts consulted in our survey. If you would like to add to this list, see below for how to contribute!