Mountain forests are characterised by good resistance to environmental disturbances, though with a low resilience in case of extreme events.
Despite the significant advances in scientific understanding of forest and water interactions, the role of forests in relation to the sustainable management of water resources remains a contentious issue. Development of integrated water resource management can also guarantee the preservation of forests and their role in enhancing water yields and water quality. This is why management of forested catchments should be studied as first priority.
Maintaining forest health in the context of a changing climate requires focusing on the forests themselves and on strategies to reduce their vulnerability to increasing disturbances. Nevertheless, mountain conditions make the cost of forest management increasing disproportionately.
This over-cost needs to be compensated in order to have forests sustainably managed. If this is not the case, there is a risk of land abandonment, with negative impact on the water cycle.
The multifunctional approach
involves identifying ecosystem services and relevant stakeholders, and the relative
values they place on forest resources, through procedures of stakeholder
Local communities are tangled in decision-making to develop stakeholder partnerships and to match long-term objectives for sustainable forest management and planning.
The MOUNTFOR platform offers considerable potential for reconciling the often conflicting demands being placed on forest ecosystems and for balancing short-term demands with the long-term requirements for stable and productive mountain forests, in a global perspective.
MOUNTFOR assists in addressing the definition of cross-sectoral measures and institutional reorientation, raise awareness, building capacities and link science to policies and practices, and facilitate synergies and exchanges of experiences in the ecosystem services.