LIFE Forest Fit for Future

Project description

In Europe, 25 mill. ha of forest is managed as plantations, typically with timber production as the main goal, and  as conifers in even-aged monocultures with large standing timber volumes. This type of forest management is especially pronounced in NW Europe incl. UK, Ireland, Denmark and NW-Germany.

Conifers are high-yielding regarding biomass production having  a high capacity to consume carbondioxide. The wood is valuable as construction timber and as substitutes of fossil fuels and as polymers for textiles.  Consequently, conifers are expected to play an increasingly important role in the future bioeconomy. Large scale re- and afforestation with conifers is therefore expected to accommodate increasing demand and to act as a carbon-sink to mitigate climate change .Thus healthy/productive conifer forests are vital.

In recent decades, severe disturbances have intensified across Europe causing increasing damage from wind, bark beetles, wildfires. The trend towards more climatic unreliable conditions is expected to have strong detrimental effects on stability, economic yield, forest carbon storage and other ecosystem services.

For this reason Close to Nature Forestry (CNF) practices were introduced, to increase adaptability/resilience through species mixtures and structural variation. However, the shift towards CNF has taken place in a small scale only and mainly in State forests. Many experiences on CNF during the past 20 years are available, but they are commonly of a local nature, and not well documented. Appropriate planning tools for management are required too, and due to the long-term nature of forest production (50-100 years in northern Europe), economical effects on land value, cash flow, rate of return are not documented, nor are effects on ecosystem services.

LIFE ForFit focuses on a substantial implementation of CNF in a range of private and state owned forests, combined with parallel collection of data and development of planning tools for ecosystem services and a no. of supporting activities. Furthermore, LIFE Forfit focuses on collection of knowledge about carbon sequestration and biodiversity in forest managed according to CNF principles.

Here are the forests that are part of the project.

Orange: Private forests - Green: State forests

Map of participating forests

Map of participating forests


Project period 2020-2028
  Mill. Euro
EU contribution 7,2
Aage V. Jensen Nature fund 0,4
Danish Nature Agency 4,2
Associated Beneficiaries 1,4
Totel project sum 13,2

The information on this website reflects only the author’s position.

The EU Commission is not responsible for any use of this information.

What is Close-to-nature forestry?

Close to nature forestry is a way of cultivating the forest, which ensures that you get a more varied and stable forest for the benefit of both biodiversity, landscape conditions, a diverse tree production and much more.

The close-to-nature forestry is based on the principles of natural self-rejuvenation and many tree species of different ages within a small area. In addition, drainage and tillage are not used in forests close to nature.

Before one can decide how the individual stand should be treated in the future, it is important to have a long-term goal for what kind of forest is to be created. In close to nature forestry, work is done with forest development types in relation to converting the individual stands in the direction of the long-term goal.

What is Close-to-nature forestry