Coinciding with the International Day against Climate Change, a forum titled “AGREEMENTS FOR IBERIAN FORESTS: A COLLECTIVE CHALLENGE” was held on 24 October at the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) in Madrid. The event was organized by the Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático, Greenpeace-Spain, WWF-Spain, and Ecologistas en acción.
The event, inaugurated by María Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho, General Director of Biodiversity, Forests, and Desertification at MITECO, aimed primarily to present the “Declaration on the uniqueness of Iberian forests and other Mediterranean forest lands” and to establish a dialogue focused on finding consensuses and agreements at the national level. These agreements could then be translated into effective measures and policies to address critical challenges facing our forest ecosystems, including their protection, the promotion of sustainable forestry, and the reduction of the risk of major forest fires.
The document underlines the urgency of addressing the devastating impacts that climate change and forest fires have had on forest ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula. During the fateful summer of 2022, record high temperatures and droughts led to a significant increase in the area affected by forest fires in Spain and Portugal. Those fires consumed 268,000 hectares of forests, forced the evacuation of 30,000 people, and caused irreparable damage to valuable ecosystems.
The event brought together various stakeholders interested in forest conservation, including representatives of the forestry sector, conservation organizations, political groups, and territorial authorities, to present concrete solutions for promoting the preservation of our forests and combating climate change.
This call to action is based on an unprecedented consensus among various social actors regarding the need to address these issues. The text highlights the importance of Iberian forest ecosystems, which are unique in Europe due to their biological diversity, ecosystem services, multifunctionality, and contribution to rural economies. As well as the necessity of taking into consideration “Iberian forest exceptionalism” in European environmental policies in order to safeguard and sustainably develop these valuable natural resources.
About the Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático
The “Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático” is a non-profit association composed of key stakeholders in the forestry sector and related entities. They unanimously support the role of forests in the fight against climate change.