Effects on Ecosystems, Landscape and Rural Development

image of AFFORNORD

The Nordic project AFFORNORD studied the effects of afforestation on ecosystems, landscape and rural development in the years 2004–2006. Forests play a major role in the environment and economy of the Nordic countries. In historical times, extensive areas in the southern and western part of the Nordic region were deforestated, followed by afforestation in the past two centuries. There is no doubt that afforestation affects biodiversity, landscape dynamics, rural development and human health in several ways, positive as well as negative. Therefore, the purpose of afforestation must be clear in the planning phase. Proper forest management is also of critical importance. No land-use meets all environmental goals simultaneously. Some negative impacts are inevitable, even if the most conscientious management is employed. Generally, a trade-off must be made between the desire for a pristine environment and the need for a working and operational landscape for the benefit of society at large.



Conclusions and recommendations

In the AFFORNORD project, an interdisciplinary approach was taken to evaluate effects of large-scale afforestation projects. In 2005, an international conference was held at Reykholt, Iceland, on how afforestation affects ecosystems, rural development and the landscape. This led to the publication of a proceedings book in the TemaNord series (TemaNord 2007:508) including a wealth of scientific information relating to a wide range of afforestation aspects. However, the book lacked a comprehensive overview.


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