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Reporting on forest damages and disturbances in the UNECE region (ECE/TIM/SP/57)

Reporting on forest damages and disturbances in the UNECE region (ECE/TIM/SP/57)

ECE/TIM/SP/57E Cover

The frequency and intensity of wildfires, storms and pest outbreaks has been increasing rapidly for several decades, highlighting the vulnerability of the world’s forests and the impact of natural and human threats accelerated and intensified by climate changes.

Although disturbance and mortality are inherent to forest ecosystems, and forest disturbance has always been a concern in forest management, monitoring the extent of damage has become a key priority in recent decades.

Forests are vital carbon sinks for climate change mitigation and reservoirs of global biodiversity. This makes reliable information, data and accurate reporting of damage and disturbance even more important for effective policies ensuring the sustainable management of forests.

To ensure that this critical information is available to all, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have summarized in this publication the main dynamics and significance of forest damage, and their reporting in the UNECE region.

The publication invites readers to reflect on possible harmonized methodologies and reporting schemes. In this regard, it also underlines the collective effort that is essential for the forest sector.

Real-world scenarios, such as the analysis of forest damage and disturbance data, require state-of-the-art techniques beyond the usual statistical evaluation. Innovative technologies highlighted in this publication such as remote sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning will need to be integral parts of any advances in forest damage assessment.

Reporting on forest damage is not just a technical exercise. It is a critical element of our shared commitment to biodiversity, climate resilience and livelihoods. Supporting comprehensive reporting will lay the foundation for safeguarding forest ecosystems for future generations.

This publication is an important step towards improving international reporting on forest damage and the result of a collaborative effort of national and international experts, supported by the secretariat.