Managing bark beetle outbreaks in the 21st century

Bark beetles and other biotic agents have devastated European forests with unexpected severity. And experts emphasize that the worst is likely still ahead of us. In a policy brief Policy-brief-Managing-bark-beetle-outbreaks-in-the-21st-century.pdf (foresteurope.org) recently published by RESONATE researcher Tomáš Hlásny from Czech University of Life Sciences and Julia Haas, coordinator of Forest Europe’s Pan-European Forest Risk Knowledge Mechanism mechanism, the authors emphasize that it is crucial to devise strategies to mitigate disturbance impacts across the entire forest value chain and increase the preparedness of all actors and institutions.

Aim of the policy brief is to improve management and policy principles by replacing isolated response actions with a comprehensive risk management strategy. This involves e.g. silviculture and monitoring; development of storage and transportation capacities; workforce development and training; spatial planning and zonation as well as post-disturbance restoration that mitigates future risks. Furthermore, the brief explores how we can foster cross-sectoral policy harmonization and international cooperation. It also provides input on how we can adopt resilience thinking to see natural disturbances as opportunities for creating new, resilient forests and implementing reforms that enhance the forestry sector’s capacity to adapt and recover from future shocks more efficiently.

Finally, the policy brief provides seven policy recommendations ultimately aiming at creating resilient forestry sectors and forests fit for the future. In the technical annex readers can find a “Biotic risk management toolbox” with concrete advice for the different steps in the Risk Management Cycle from Prevention to Preparedness, and from Response to Recovery.

Risk management cycle