More than 40% of the Alpine area is covered by forests. This figure is growing due to the abandonment of some cultivated areas and also due to the rise in temperature. Forests are carbon sinks. They supply wood as a construction material and are a renewable energy source. They also offer natural protection against avalanches, floods and other disasters and are a distinguishing element of the Alpine landscape. Forests also have an important recreational function. When managed sustainably, they can carry out many important functions: soil conservation, protection against natural disasters, renewable sources of raw materials, energy sources, employment opportunities, mitigation of climate change, ecosystem conservation and protection of Alpine landscapes.
The objective of the Contracting parties is "to preserve, reinforce and restore the role of forests, in particular their protective role, by improving the resistance of forest ecosystems mainly by applying natural forestry techniques and preventing any utilization detrimental to forests, taking into account the less favourable economic conditions in the Alpine region", as it is written in the Article 2, paragraph 2(h) pf the Framework Convention.
The topic of future-oriented farming and forestry (nature protection, socio-economic and cultural aspects) is addressed in one of the subgroups of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) Action Group 6, which deals with the topic of “Preservation and valorisation of natural resources, including water and cultural resources”, led by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Province of Carinthia.