Valuing Afforestation of damaged woods with Innovative Agroforestry
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OBJECTIVES

 

The objective of the LIFE VAIA project is to restore forest areas and enhance their ecosystems by developing sustainable products and services. Through the application of innovative agroforestry techniques, LIFE VAIA intends to create opportunities for land recovery and increase the ecological, economic and social resilience of damaged forest ecosystems. The project is part of the EU's broader environmental strategy aimed at protecting forests from damage caused by climate change, strengthening local ecosystems and protecting biodiversity.

The LIFE VAIA project envisages the development of innovative intervention techniques for the reconstruction of forests, through which the adaptation of forest vegetation to climate change can be promoted. The highly innovative element of the project is the use of the agroforestry strategy as a solution to cope, in the short and long term, with the damage caused by extreme climatic events. This strategy makes it possible to invest in the production of organic products with minimal impact, increasing biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources (energy through renewable sources and water through rainwater harvesting). Furthermore, the production strategy focused on local resources and the rehabilitation of damaged areas allow to limit the economic damage suffered by the communities living in the affected areas. The main actions financed by LIFE VAIA concern the reproduction and cultivation of wild blueberries and other "wild" small fruits, food and medicinal plants in forest ecosystems, as well as the enhancement of beekeeping production in forest areas destroyed by the storm. The project includes initiatives for citizen participation in the reconstruction of the destroyed forests.

OVERVIEW of the OBJECTIVES:


1) To consolidate the knowledge base on the use of innovative agroforestry procedures in forest farming, assess the effectiveness of the method and encourage its use in European forests

2) To develop an ecosystem-based innovative approach (VAIA approach)

3) To test and apply the VAIA approach in several areas characterized by different conditions in order to define fast response models to be transferred (also thanks to replication activities and toolkit) in the sites interested by extreme events, intensified by climate changes

4) To promote the implementation of the EU forest strategy (in particular the 2021 forthcoming one) specifically for the areas of: protecting forests in a changing climate whilst promoting sustainable forestry management to mitigate climate change; protecting forests and enhancing biodiversity reversing the decline of pollinators and contributing in replanting trees (as planned by the EU Biodiversity strategy by 2030); developing new and innovative forestry and added-value products

5) Develop new and innovative forestry and value-added products

6) Recover forest areas and enhance their ecosystems, developing sustainable products and services with value-added products

7) Increase the ecological, economic and social resilience of damaged forest ecosystems

 

VAIA APPROACH

It is constituted by implementing ‘temporary’/transitional (15/20 years) agroforestry until the growth of forest trees, and finalised to:
a) tackle in short time most of the negative effects caused to the environment by the destruction of trees (e.g. erosion, mineralisation of organic matter, loss of biodiversity);

b) accelerate the reconstruction of forest ecosystems, mixing natural and artificial reforestation concepts in order to promote the establishment of stable ecosystems characterized by high biodiversity and ecological value and the adaptability and resilience of the ecosystems, introducing structural and genetic variability (intra/inter species), increasing the opportunities for natural selection in the perspective of adaptation to climate changes;

c) create opportunities for sustainable economic development aimed to halt the depopulation in the areas where disruptive events took place;

d)create opportunities for sustainable economic development aimed at halting depopulation in areas where disruptive events have occurred.