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Protection Forests in the Alpine Region – Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change

Zwei Männer im Schnee mit Messgeräten

Climate change is undeniably contributing to the increase in weather- and climate-related natural disasters, affecting Alpine communities. Natural disasters are often the result of compound events, which are combinations of multiple climate- and/or weather-related hazards that contribute to societal or environmental risks.

In the Alpine region, one important driver of our increased vulnerability to climate-related disasters are changes in mountain forest ecosystems, which often protect against natural hazards such as rockfall, landslides and snow avalanches. Protective forests provide essential ecosystem services that support human well-being and play a critical role in the mitigation of climate change in the Alpine region, but their health and stability are also threatened by climate change.


The main objective of the project MOSAIC (Managing prOtective foreSt fAcIng clImate Change compound events) is to promote climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, considering ecosystem-based approaches – one of the main goals of the Interreg Alpine Space programme.

Therefore, MOSAIC focuses on the management of resilient and sustainable protective forests that can cope with climate changes’ multiple dimensions, which is essential for managing climate-related risks. To support regional and Alpine climate action plans, the project consortium will collect, harmonize and share data on climate-related disasters and their trends in the Alpine Space, and provide models for analysing impacts of climate change compound events on protective forests and the ecosystem service they provide. The project partners aim to raise awareness for managing protective forests facing climate change compound events among foresters, risk managers, decision makers and the public as well as to integrate project results into practice through an Alpine network of Forest Living Labs.

For fulfilling its objectives, MOSAIC is structured in 3 distinct work packages:

  • DOJO: Data mining and prOJection of climate change effects on the Alpine Space fOrests
  • NAZCA: NaturAl haZards modelling platform for analysing climate change Compound events on AS protective forests
  • FORCE: Forest labs fOr Raising awareness on resilienCe of protectivE forest coping with climate change adaptation

MOSAIC will provide:

  • Comprehensive stocktaking and assessment of spatially explicit past and projected climate and climate-related disaster data for the Alpine Space, made accessible via a webGIS atlas.
  • A platform offering natural hazard and risk models upgraded for integrating the consequences of climate change compound events on Alpine forests and on their ability to efficiently protect against natural hazards.
  • Provision of data, experiences and knowledge to support the definition of a joint Alpine scheme for implementing an integrated and adaptive management of Alpine forests with protective functions coping with climate change impacts.

BFW contribution

BFW’s main contribution to MOSAIC is the investigation of changes in the protective effects of forests against avalanches after storm damage and bark beetle infestation. To study the differences between cleared versus uncleared windthrow and bark beetle-infested areas in terms of their protective effect, BFW researchers collect remote sensing and in situ data, mainly using drone photogrammetry and snow cover observations in disturbed field sites, which are used to develop methods and improve models to support risk and protective forest management in the Alpine Space. The Austrian Forest Living Lab is the model catchment Rindbach in Upper Austria.


The MOSAIC consortium consists of 12 partners from the 6 Alpine Space countries and different sectors (researchers, administration, service providers) and with different but complementary fields of expertise (e.g., forest management, modelling, natural hazard and risk management).
MOSAIC is an action-research project that relies on project partners recognized for their applied research activities and involvement in the science-decision-action triptych.


Co-funded by the European Union through the Interreg Alpine Space Program.
• Total budget: 2.710.832,00 €
• ERDF support: 1.758.624,00 €
• Duration: 01/11/2022 – 31/10/2025

Please find more information at

Logo Projekt Mosaic