Swiss forests are heavily impacted by climate change and extreme events, weakening trees through droughts, heatwaves, storms, and late frosts. These factors make the forests more vulnerable to diseases and pests, threatening this vital resource. To preserve a diverse, resilient, and adaptable ecosystem, the federal government, cantons, forest owners, and the timber industry collaborate closely.
At a recent media conference, the Canton of Jura, the Conference on Forests, Wildlife, and Landscape (KWL), and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) discussed the current state and challenges faced by Swiss forests.
Since 2018, the increasing occurrence of storms, intense droughts, and the rapid spread of bark beetles have severely impacted forests. Moreover, the risk of forest fires has risen. FOEN Director Katrin Schneeberger stressed the need for human intervention to enhance the forest’s adaptive capacity, citing the lack of a future for fir forests in the midlands and the threat to protective forests.
To address these challenges, the Federal Council approved the report “Adapting Forests to Climate Change,” highlighting the importance of sustainable forest regeneration, maintaining climate-sensitive forest stocks, and ensuring safety in recreational forests across cantons.
Immediate measures have already been implemented, with a recent survey indicating their effectiveness. However, the financial requirements for future efforts remain high. The Canton of Jura has experienced a near-catastrophic impact, with extensive work underway to secure roads and reforest damaged areas.
David Eray, Minister of the Environment for the Canton of Jura, emphasized the necessity of transitioning to climate-adapted forests through modern forest management and the commitment of forest owners and professionals.