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Presidency: Italy

Mountain forests represent a distinguishing element of the Alpine region. If the forests are managed sustainably, they can carry out many important functions: soil conservation, protection against natural disasters, renewable sources of raw materials, energy sources and employment opportunities, mitigation of climate change, ecosystem conservation and protection of alpine landscape.
The Working Group "Mountain Forests" was established in 2012. It works in the framework of the Protocol "Mountain Forests" of the Alpine Convention and is contributing to the intersectional cooperation according to the Multiannual Work Programme of the Alpine Convention, particularly in the following areas: climate change, biodiversity, tourism and green economy.  
The Working Group has an important role for the forest system in the field of development of adaptation policies at regional and local level as well as in the light of its potential absorption function. In the areas of ​​adaptation policies the Working Group is acting in accordance with the Action Plan on Climate Change in the Alps and in the context of the implementation of the Protocol "Mountain Forests" with a goal to promote the conservation of forest areas that are exposed to natural hazards and to maintain the protective function of forests, including harmonization of the instruments for monitoring of the impact of climate change. The Working Group also oversees the issues related to the production of raw materials and renewable energy sources and promotes the use of wood.  
In cooperation with other Working Groups and Platforms the Working Group helps to keep the Alpine biodiversity and to protection it from the effects of climate change. Such consequences are: moving of the flora and fauna to higher altitudes, changes in the forest structure and the alpine habitat.  
Mountain forests are a distinguishing element of the alpine landscape and have an important recreational function therefore the Working Group is also active in the field of tourism, especially by the collection of good practices for evaluation of the forests through sustainable forest tourism and other activities that contribute to the development of green economy in the Alpine arc.   
During the years 2017-2018, on the basis of the results achieved in the years 2015-2016, the mandate and the activities of the Working Group focuses on the protective function of the Alpine Mountain Forests; on activities for the recognition and valorisation of the ecosystem services in the Alpine forests.
In particular, the WG is collecting policies and good practices related to the role that Alpine forests play toward a low carbon, sustainable and social inclusive economy for the Alpine area, considering wood, energy and non-wood products and describing interdependencies between the protective mountain forests and the protected sectors in the fields of “freshwater provision” and “flood protection”.        
The Contracting Parties to the Alpine Convention delegated experts to be members of the Working Groups/Platforms. Observers to the Convention may also nominate representatives.

The main objectives of the Working Group are:
  • Development of two reports on the main topics, with information, good practices, implementation opportunities and recommendations for operators and policy makers.
  • Organization of workshop on important topics related to mountain forests and at least one technical conference within the initiatives of the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention.
  • Increased awareness about the role of forest in a green economy.
  • Dissemination of good practices and promotion of sectoral and inter-sectorial experience exchange and cooperation.
  • Transfer of knowledge regarding the topics to interested and/or relevant stakeholders, municipalities and local/regional authorities.
  • Promotion of forest management.
  • Contribution to climate change mitigation.
  • Protection of the Alpine biodiversity.
  • Data collection.
  • Collection of good practices.
  • Cooperation with other Working Groups and Platforms of the Alpine Convention (namely with Water Management Platform and PLANALP, Mountain Farming Platform and the WG Macroregional Strategy)
Current activities, documents, results

Past activities, documents, results