The use of non-native tree species polarise the opinions of experts and citizens. Adaption to climate change versus invasiveness are factors to be considered in the future management of forests and urban tree populations. The transnational project ALPTREES provides databases, education and guidelines for nature conservation, the timber industry and urban planning.
Climate change and human activities represent major threats to the ecosystems in the Alpine Space. Therefore, adaptation efforts are required to respond to the negative effects on the Alpine environment, economy and society. Non-native tree species can support the adaptation of European forests and urban areas to climate change, but simultaneously entail risks for biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Many efforts have already been undertaken to manage these risks, but neither European or national/regional recommendations and strategies for non-native tree species management exist in the Alpine Space that consider the challenges of climate change yet.
Experiences in the management of non-native tree species in urban, peri-urban areas and forests are often country-/city-specific and thus rarely shared. Given the challenges in non-native tree species management with respect to both benefits and risks, a transnational approach is needed to qualify the role of non-native tree species in future Alpine Space ecosystems.
ALPTREES objective is to develop and provide a transnational strategy for a decision support system on responsible use and management of non-native tree species in the Alpine region (overview of the workpackages). One implementation is to develop a comprehensive database on non-native tree species which also includes their current and potential distribution in the Alpine Space under various climate change scenarios.
Analysing the different ecosystem services provided by non-native tree species help to assess the tradeoffs between risks and benefits, including the determination of invasive potential. ALPTREES open Knowledge Hub will provide information, data and management recommendations free and accessible to use for everyody.
Results and Outputs
The results of the project will increase the level of sustainable valorisation of cultural and natural heritage in the Alpine Space by 1-3 % by providing tools allowing stakeholders in the sectors forestry, nature conservation, timber industry, and rural and urban planning to distinguish between negative and positive impacts of non-native tree species on ecosystem services and functional needs in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The transnational cooperation strategy will provide technical guidelines for climate change adaptation decision-making tools and planning to safeguard the future of green infrastructure, biodiversity functions and ecosystem services in the entire EUSALP territory.