The green universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands have launched joint practical research into sustainable forest management. VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) (HVHL), Aeres University of Applied Sciences, Inholland University of Applied Sciences and HAS University of Applied Sciences are working on this project with a broad representation from the professional field. HVHL will assume overall coordination as the primary coordinator. The Sustainable Forest Management project consists of two research studies. The study Vital Forests focuses on management and design so that forests can be and remain vital and climate-resistant. The study Versatile Forests investigates how forest functions, including CO₂ sequestration, nature and experience can be optimally realised in the forest.
It is becoming increasingly clear that vital, versatile forests are essential for realising the great ambitions in the field of climate adaptation, CO₂ sequestration, biodiversity recovery, circular agriculture and the circular economy. Both research projects give managers of forests, nature and landscape tools and knowledge to achieve this.
Dutch forests have a wide range of societal functions. However, they are increasingly suffering from the effects of climate change, overfertilisation, acidification, desiccation and fragmentation. The Versatile Forests project supports forest managers in their choice of management measures to achieve the desired goals for forests and forest functions. This involves investigating which management methods can be used to achieve optimum function fulfilment in both new and existing forests in urban and rural areas.
The Vital Forests project provides managers with applicable tools that they can use to steer vitality in the specific conditions of their management unit. The existing Toolkit for Climate-Smart Forest Management will be reviewed for usability and completeness. This provides managers with an improved tool to increase and monitor forest vitality.
Research and education are working together with land management organisations, the woodworking industry, green consultancies and forest managers in both studies. The project is co-financed from the programme Praktijkkennis voor Voedsel en Groen (Practical Knowledge for Food and Green) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), in coordination with the National Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek SIA. In doing so, they contribute to the achievement of ambitions by supporting practical research by universities of applied sciences into vital, versatile forests. Knowledge gained from research must be applicable in practice.