The REINFFORCE project meets the Priority B requirements of the INTERREG IVB operational programme. The reality of GLOBAL WARMING is widely accepted, with optimistic scenarios predicting an increase of 4°C in the next 50 years. But the regional consequences of climate change are not well-known, especially in oceanic areas, and there are still many uncertainties related to climate (local rainfall levels and the gulf stream, etc.), the economy (fossil fuel costs and world trade, etc.) and the environment (pests and diseases, sea level, etc.).
Even if it is not possible to accurately model the impact of climate change on the European Atlantic seaboard, some specific potential threats for Atlantic forests have nevertheless been identified by modelers; for example, tree life cycle disturbance, newly emerging pathogens and the maladaptation of species to new climatic conditions.
This project will set up a network from 37° to 56° N latitude, in order to monitor developments in climate change and to test the efficiency of adaptation measures. It will play a crucial role in helping maintain the sustainability of Atlantic forest resources, as the trees that are being planted now will be harvested in fifty years time and will need to be able to withstand the new climatic conditions.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT IS TO POOL THE CAPACITY OF 11 INSTITUTES IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE TRANSNATIONAL ISSUE OF ATLANTIC FOREST ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE. It will serve as a tool allowing us to evaluate the impact of climate change structured around five main activities comprising several actions:
A preparation phase to review the existing field trials, species and available knowledge, and to define the protocols for setting up the trials and collecting the data.
Administrative coordination and technical evaluation of the work implemented.
The setting up of a network of 38 arboreta to anticipate the impact of climate change on existing species by growing them beyond their current natural range.
The setting up of a network of 41 demonstration stands to compare current silvicultural practices with other climate change adaptation techniques.
The setting up of a data collection system and shared database to monitor Atlantic forest growth, health, and biological life cycles.
A non-budgeted objective is to ensure the durability of the IEFC network, which has existed for 10 years. REINFFORCE contributes to the financing of IEFC (EFIATLANTIC) as a European Forest Institute Regional Office, covering Portugal, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland, thus integrating the network more into Europe.
The project exploits environmental monitoring knowledge developed by some of the participants in the INTERREG IIIB project FORSEE, and the network has been extended to include the UK.
This infrastructure will be a first and essential step to opening the way for further research on the adaptation of forests to climate change. As each public partner will be in charge of only a few sites, the durability of the network is ensured and it will be possible to use the sites for knowledge transfer activities.
Such a project would be meaningless without a large north-south range and this could not be achieved without a large transnational cooperation involving partners from Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK. All the public partners are research or development organisations, most of which are already involved in projects on adaptation to climate change. Therefore, on a Europe wide scale, they will pool a significant amount of knowledge and know-how in this field. The 11 partners that will share the budgeted 4 million Euros over four years are: l’Institut Européen de la Forêt Cultivée (IEFC), Forest Research (FR), l’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA-Pierroton), le Centre National de la Propriété Forestière – l’Institut pour le développement forestier (CNPF-IDF), Gestión Ambiental de Navarra (GAN), HAZI Konsultoria, NEIKER Tecnalia, Fundación General de la Universidad de Valladolid (FGUVA), CIF Lourizan et Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA).