Last updated at: 07-11-2022

Project title

Implementation of Climate-Smart Forestry in Catalonia as a way to contribute to the socio-economic and ecological resilience of forest landscapes.


Núria Aquilué, José Ramón González-Olabarria, Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo, Míriam Piqué, Mario Beltrán, Antoni Trasobares.




Own CTFC resources, EU projects (ONEforest - grant agreement Nº 101000406 , eco2adapt - HORIZON-CL6-2021-CLIMATE-01), and knowledge transfer projects with regional administration  and public companies (Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (DACC), Catalan Water Agency (ACA))

Problem description

Catalonia holds a population of 7,7 million people and a total surface of 32.000 km2. It is characterized by a Mediterranean climate and for being a biodiversity hotspot. It is regularly impacted by extreme forest fires and climate change effects (i.e., drought-induced mortality) are already visible. 64% of the Catalan territory are forests (being 41% of the total wooded). 76% of the forest surface is private (with ~ 228.00 forest owners) and only 32% is planned. During the last decades, the abandonment of pastures and agricultural activities has led to a relevant increase of the forest surface and the standing vegetation volume (the standing wood volume has increased from 80 M m3 up to 151 M m3 in 25 years). Indeed, 34% forests are relatively young. It is estimated that Catalan forests grow 2.900.000 m3·y-1, but only 30% of the annual growth is harvested. Indeed, only 18% of annual wood consumption comes from local forests.

In a period of increasing risks due to climate change and natural disturbances, to meet all the EU, national, and regional agreements and policies (2030 – 2050 European Green Deal, LULUCF 2021 – 2030, Farm to Fork, Common Agricultural Policy, EU Forest strategy,

Catalan Bioeconomy Strategy EBC 2030, Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Strategy of Catalonia 2030), and to promote the resilience of agroforest landscapes and the provisioning of multiplicity of forest ecosystem services it is needed an upgraded management of the Catalan territory through the implementation of a multi-functional climate-smart forestry.


This transversal research project seeks to develop an Information System for promoting Climate-Smart Forestry and multi-objective planning to provide support to policymakers, the scientific community, the private sector, and managers in Catalonia under the umbrella of EU Green Deal Objectives. It also promotes the economic valuation of non-market ES for Catalonia (for specific species, forest types vs. transversal for the whole region).

Also, to implement innovative forest management techniques and monitor their effects on forest resilience and provision of ecosystem services.


Modelling research, forest management, disturbance prevention, agroforestry, wood products.

Forest type

Mediterranean forest types. Dominant tree species are pines, oaks, beech, and fir.


A network of permanent plots has been implemented in sub-humid Mediterranean forests in Catalonia to monitor the impact of innovative forest management techniques (200 ha), based on close-to-nature and single tree-oriented silviculture, on forest resilience and ecosystem services indicators.


The forest dynamics modelling and ES evaluation is done at the NFI plot level and upper scaled at different territorial divisions (homogeneous landscape units, counties, homogeneous fire regime zones, …) according to the application.

The working areas, where demonstrative-experimental sites and permanent plots have been implemented, are Montnegre-Corredor, Montseny and Bellmunt-Collsacabra massifs.

Visible effect

We expect that by applying a progressive increase in the demand for wood and the managed surface coupled with a change in silvicultural practices (adopt a close-to-nature, multifunctional forest management, productive sylviculture) will mitigate climate change (increase the carbon stocks in living biomass and long-lasting wood products). Moreover, in the plots installed we have already seen at short-term a positive effect of silviculture on forest vitality and growth, increasing quality and long-lasting wood, forest fires prevention, forest complexity and water availability.


Moreover, we hypothesis that CSF in Catalonia will 1. reduce the risk of extreme forest fires, 2. improve the vitality and resilience of forest stands, 3. ensure the production of blue water, 4. sustain high levels of biodiversity (i.e., multiplicity of habitats), 5. promote the production of carpentry products with greater added value and a longer lifespan (i.e., wood for construction), and 6. contribute to the circular bioeconomy.


The costs for developing an Information System for promoting Climate-Smart Forestry and multi-objective planning are not yet estimated. Permanent plots have been installed within the frame of Life MixForChange project. Total budget of the project which includes several other actions was 1.301.000 €.


There is no monitoring plan in place yet related to the implementation of multi-objective planning.

In the case of CSF plots installed on different forest stands there is not a specific plan to monitor them, since MixForChange project has finished. However, with the help of own CTFC resources and collaboration of partners involved in the project it is planned a new measurement in the next 5 years.


We are already up scaling the project and principles at the national level (i.e., Spain). We expect to transfer the solutions to other administrations linked to forests and the forest sector (i.e., Diputacions, Municipalities, …)


Trasobares, A.; Mola-Yudego, B.; Aquilué, N.; González-Olabarria, J.-R.; Garcia-Gonzalo, J.; García-Valdés, R.; De Cáceres, M. (2022). Nationwide climate-sensitive models for stand dynamics and forest scenario simulation, Forest Ecology and Management, 505:119909.

Climate-Smart Forestry Case Study: Spain.  Elena Górriz-Mifsud, Aitor Ameztegui, Jose Ramón González, and Antoni Trasobares. In:  L. Hetemäki et al. (eds.), Forest Bioeconomy and Climate Change, Managing Forest Ecosystems 42,

Handbook: Adaptive and close-to-nature management in mixed sub-humid Mediterranean forests: holm oak, chestnut, common oak and pine woods. (2022). J. Coello, M. Piqué, M. Beltrán, L. Coll, N. Palero, L. Guitart.

CSF project: CSF in Catalonia region