Forest Research releases guide on pesticide use across Europe

Forest Research has issued a new publication, Forest Vegetation Management in Europe, which provides information about the use of pesticides across Europe.

Co-edited by Ian Willoughby from the British Forestry Commission's Forest Research agency, the publication synthesises the work of forest practitioners and scientists from 19 European countries who worked on an EU-funded Co-operation Science & Technology (COST) programme. The COST programme sought to help Europe's forest managers reduce their dependence on herbicides by facilitating and co-ordinating the development of sustainable practices based on sound forest management.

By drawing together the scientific advances, expertise and experience from the 19 countries, the book aims to provide a summary of the current "state of the art" as it applies to forest vegetation management in Europe for scientists, practitioners and policy-makers.

It also documents existing forest weed-control practices across Europe, and provides a resource of alternative solutions for individual countries sharing similar conditions and challenges. In addition, it identifies common information gaps and future research needs, and will be valuable reading for policymakers, practitioners and those interested in the future of forest management.

Ian Willoughby said: "One of the conclusions from the review is that if a ban or a widespread severe restriction on the use of pesticides in forestry across Europe was to occur in the near future, it could have significant and unintended negative impacts on the health of many of Europe's forests.

"The findings also highlight the fact that the development of more cost-effective and practical guidance for managers across Europe on non-chemical control methods can best be brought about by future collaborative research into more sustainable and holistic methods of managing forest vegetation. This includes the identification of silvicultural approaches to reducing or eliminating pesticide use, and through gaining a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms and impacts of competition.

"Such a move towards integrated forest vegetation would support European policy initiatives on the sustainable use of pesticides. This would also help to ensure that European forests are more resilient to climate change, are being managed and regenerated more sustainably and that their benefits can continue to be enjoyed by current and future generations."

A pdf is available from www.cost.esf.org or www2.clermont.inra.fr/cost-e47. Alternatively, email ian.willoughby@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.


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