LIFE Forests-waterworlds

Integration of Natura2000 conservation objectives into forest management - Lessons learned from LIFE -

Date: 7 – 8 May 2020
Location: Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig  -  Bonn (Germany)

By sharing experiences and results of current and finalized LIFE projects, we will discuss the integration of nature conservation objectives into sustainably managed forests as a key of preserving and promoting forest habitats and species of European importance.


The EU Forest Strategy 2013 identifies the “protection of forests and improvement of ecosystem services” as priority area. To safeguard biological diversity, the implementation of Natura2000 is one of its key strategic objectives. A quarter of the forest area of the European Union (EU-28) is protected under Natura2000; and half of the Natura2000 area is covered by forests. Most of the forested Natura2000 area is managed e.g. for wood production, grazing/farming, hunting or tourism. The European Union emphasizes that Natura2000 is not exclusively a system of protected areas, but combines the protection of biodiversity with sustainable development of natural resources. However, forest use has to consider explicitly the protection of various forest habitats and species.

The integration of nature conservation objectives into sustainable forest management is a suitable concept for balancing various forest functions and user interests1. With forest types and forest conditions varying across Europe, we can find a wide range of different management concepts and approaches.

LIFE projects have been implemented in very different forest habitats with a great variety of utilization-concepts and forest ownership structures. Thus, they provide a lot of best practices and lessons-learned for the conservation and promotion of biological diversity in managed forests; and they are exemplary not only for Natura2000. The projects include innovative strategies to adapt forest use to species- and habitat-specific protection goals and the reactivation of traditional silvicultural systems. They also present different approaches to communicate integrative management strategies to forest owners and managers in order to improve acceptance of Natura2000.

In the framework of the workshop, we will introduce selected LIFE projects showcasing examples for the successful balance between “protection and utilization”. Together, we will take a closer look on LIFE projects across Europe to broaden our horizons. We aim at setting new impulses for your project work and enhance acceptance for specific challenges in different biogeographical regions. The meeting allows for both exchange of knowledge and networking of European forest nature conservation projects. It further promotes the exchange of experts from different professions, among other, forest and nature conservation managers.

Discussion points

  1. How can we preserve and promote forest species and habitats of European importance in managed forest stands? 
  2. What are the limits and opportunities for the maintenance of traditional silvicultural systems in the framework of Natura2000? 
  3. How can we address both forest owners and -users to support the integration of nature protection targets into forest management?

Target audience

We invite project managers of ongoing, completed and submitted projects under the EU-LIFE framework. Furthermore, we encourage the participation of representatives from the EU, national and regional administrations as well as the contribution of forest experts from forestry and nature conservation.


The meeting is hosted by the LIFE+ project “Ville Forests” in collaboration with the European Forest Institute, Bonn. The project aimed at improving the conservation status of oak-hornbeam forests on hydromorphic soils in managed forests in Western Germany.

Call for participation

Join our meeting and learn more about other LIFE projects implemented in Austria, Hungary Italy, Spain and Germany, which address nature conservation in forests! Discuss with EU experts, foresters and conservation managers methods and challenges of a Natura2000 compliant forest management! Take the opportunity to present your own project, share your ideas and experiences in securing biological diversity in our forests!

Umweltministerium NRW LogoLIFE LogoNatura 2000 LogoBiostation Bonn Rhein-Erft LogoWald und Holz NRW Logo