On 18 September the Forest Summit took place in Innsbruck, with the sub-title “Protection. Forests. Climate.” The Conference brought together many stakeholders and political representatives of Alpine regions and countries active in the sector of forest management. The panelists to the Conference highlighted the multiple functions of Alpine forests which range from protection from natural hazards, to providing natural capital, to sequestrating CO2. One of the focuses of the Conference was on the challenges forests are facing nowadays mostly because of climate change, which changes the natural habitat of trees and other species. Other difficulties Alpine forests are going through are their aging, the higher incidence of forest fires, their high maintenance costs, and many more.
The participants also got involved in the discussion of the way ahead: different panels analysed various aspects of mountain forests, as well as possible solutions and strategies. The political input was offered by some high level political participants: the Austrian Federal Minister of the Environment Andrä Rupprechter, the minister of internal affairs, education and the environment of Liechtenstein Dominique Gantenbein, Ulrike Scharf Bavarian State Minister of the Environment and Consumer Protection, to mention only some of them. Together with Secretary General Markus Reiterer, they discussed the political strategies, the need for coordination and action since what is at stake is the future of the Alps.