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It is known worldwide that conservation and sustainable management of forests plays a pivotal role in the bio-based economy of present and future generations. It is for this reason that the achievement of an improved knowledge of how to adapt forest and forests landscapes to the challenges posed by climate and social changes must become the first goal for all researchers and stakeholder active in this important sector of any national economies.

For this purpose the IUFRO – International Union of Forest Research Organizations - has approved during 2015 the formation of a Task Force named "Forest Adaptation and Restoration under global change". The Task Force's conceptual pathway work presents three main aims:

  1. identifying knowledge gaps
  2. comparing existing activities and techniques
  3. elaborating best practice approaches

Among other working plans for the period 2015-2017 a particular effort of this Task Force will be dedicated to a retrospective knowledge (gap) analysis regarding the forests spread over all the continents. In regard to this, already a workshop on Restoration and Adaptation of Mountain Forest in Central and Northeast Asia has been organized during 2015 and another one will be held during the coming October in the context of IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania 2016.

This second workshop will focus mainly upon forest adaptation and restoration in the Asia and Oceania Regions. For the coming 2017 the Task Force objective is to examine and discuss the situation of forests in the Mediterranean Region and this represents the main reason for organizing a Congress in Palermo (Italy) during the next April 2017. In order to better understand the best practices to be adopted it is extremely important to discuss comparatively the situation of the Mediterranean vegetation also in the context of other continents beside the Mediterranean Basin. This aspect will be covered during the congress by inviting forest researchers involved in Mediterranean ecosystem in other continents such as South-America, South-Africa, or Australia.

Against the above background and in recognition that forest adaptation and restoration need to be discussed in connection with other forest related and environmental disciplines, it has been possible to find a clear convergence of intent between the IUFRO Task Force and other public and private Italian institutions such as:

  • University of Palermo (which will host the congress)
  • Italian Society for Forest Restoration (ISFR)
  • Italian Botanical Society (SBI)

The result of this convergence is the decision to organize a joint Congress to be held in Palermo on 19-21 April 2017. In keeping with the Congress title - Sustainable restoration of Mediterranean forests: analysis and perspective within the context of bio-based economy development under global changes – the Congress Scientific Committee (CSC) has selected four key themes which will guide the congress program:

  1. How climate change and its extreme events is affecting the Mediterranean Vegetation in general and forests in particular
  2. How new technological advancements will impact upon and will support the strategies to be implemented for leading to a sustainable forest management in Mediterranean Region
  3. How to interconnect stakeholders, economists, policy makers with forest and landscape scientists in order to form a network able to guarantee a full integration of national forest infrastructures within the context of worldwide strategies for a circular economy
  4. How the introduction of an Adaptive Measure (AM) approach could combine Adaptive Forest Management (AGM) with Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR)

The tentative congress program will be organized in four main technical Symposia:

  1. Forest restoration in Mediterranean climates (Europe/other continents)
  2. Scientific and technological advancements for a sustainable forest management
  3. Political, social, and economical implications related to forest restoration activities
  4. Forest restoration, landscape management, and ecosystem services

In each session there will be Keynote Plenary Lectures followed by a number of invited lectures and a number of oral presentations selected among the posters sent by the participants. All abstracts will be published in the congress proceedings but a selection of oral presentations and posters will be transformed into full papers to be published in a special issue of IUFRO Publication Series. Moreover, because of Palermo latitudinal position in Sicily, the period of the year chosen for holding the congress is normally the best period of the year in terms of climate and vegetation life-time. Therefore we are sure that there will be outstanding social events, good opportunities to establish new collaborations among participants, and relaxed discussion in addition to a fabulous post-congress excursion.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Palermo in April 2017!


  • Andreas Bolte – IUFRO Task Force Leader
  • Franco Maria Raimondo – University of Palermo
  • Donato Chiatante - Italian Society for Forest Restoration
  • Consolata Siniscalco - Italian Botanical Society
  • Orazio Ciancio - Italian Academy of Forest Sciences