Mediterranean forest ecosystems are a source of various goods and services that are key to socioeconomic development in the region. However, Mediterranean forest research has remained incoherent and poorly funded, resulting in under-performance in this important area. The EU-funded FORESTERRA (Enhancing forest research in the Mediterranean through improved coordination and integration) project put measures in place to rectify the situation. With a view to enhancing research coordination, support and impact, the project included countries and states from the Mediterranean and Mediterranean climate areas (Australia, California, Chile and South Africa). To achieve its aims, FORESTERRA mapped existing research capacity in all states by surveying funding bodies and scientific organisations. This was collated into a database of Mediterranean forestry research. The project also produced a strategic research plan based on the EU's Mediterranean Forest Research Agenda 2010-2020. This plan identifies four research priority areas: global climate change, biodiversity management, multi-use forest management and watershed management. A major goal of FORESTERRA was to gain support for international collaboration and scientific cooperation. This was achieved by developing best practices for research programme management and providing guidelines for funding transnational research projects on this topic. The project's outcomes have led to better understanding of vulnerable Mediterranean forest ecosystems threatened by drastic land-use changes and climate changes. They have also generated deeper knowledge regarding the sustainability of forest ecosystems, including sustainable management related to delivery of forest goods and services. Lastly, the project improved policies regarding forestry and related fields such as for water and biodiversity conservation. Networks with other EU-funded forestry projects have ensured useful uptake of the results and continuity of the efforts achieved under FORESTERRA.
Mediterranean, forest research, forest ecosystems, FORESTERRA, climate change, biodiversity