Present opportunities for sustainable and multifunctional forest management for the development of rural areas

Bill Slee


The principles of sustainability and multifunctionality underpin European forest policy. The first is a core characteristic of the forest resource, the second a normative aspiration, given grounding in the work of the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests of Europe and in national policies. Other principles such as the ecosystem services approach are increasingly used to explore the delivery of sustainable natural resource management under conditions of multifunctionality. The enhanced contribution of European forests to rural development will come more from innovation in response to the current need to decarbonise economic activity than the formal application of any of these principles. This paper reviews the organising concepts, and points out some critical issues in the delivery of enhanced opportunity for beneficial outcomes on rural development, recognising the need for a range of types of innovation to support the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy and thereby better support rural development


multifunctionality; sustainability; low-carbon; rural development

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