Policy Brief #18, July 2018. Research shows that large parts of forests in the mid-latitude region, including in Ukraine, are under serious threat of being obliterated by the end of the century unless urgent adaptive action is taken.

One important ecosystem service that forests offer is reducing wind-driven soil erosion, a factor that affects agricultural areas in particular. To make the most of this benefit, farmers and forestry managers can work together to create ‘shelterbelts’ and other stabilizing forest elements. Along with preventing soil degradation, this increases biodiversity, filters water, and contributes to overall ecosystem health.

An important step is to instigate a national forest inventory and system for integrated forest monitoring that could provide early warning information on undesirable changes in forest ecosystems. Taking into account the complexity of optimizing forest management activities in a changing world, the transition to an adaptive sustainable forest management strategy requires the development of new scientifically based management tools and approaches, among which is the generation of new integrated models. Alongside this, policymakers should use established best practices for transition to sustainable forest management, exchanging experiences with countries that also have large areas of forests growing in dry and semi-dry conditions, such as Bulgaria, Greece, Israel, Romania, and Turkey.

Ultimately, the transition to sustainable forest management might minimize losses of major ecosystem services, or at least slow down the impoverishment of forest ecosystems over substantial areas of the country. However, substantial and urgent efforts are required.

IIASA Policy Briefs present the latest research for policymakers from IIASA - an international, interdisciplinary research institute with National Member Organizations (NMOs) in countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. The views expressed herein are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of IIASA or its NMOs.