The Devastating Impact of the War in Ukraine on Forests: Ecologists Call for Urgent Reforms in Their Management

The war in Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the country's forests, and in the context of global warming, ecologists say urgent reforms are needed in their management. The expansion of agriculture has led to a significant reduction in forested areas, and those that remain are planted with monoculture pine trees that are prone to fires. Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, over 20,000 fires have burned more than 750,000 hectares, causing immense damage to the forests. In addition, the construction of trenches, bunkers, and roads has also led to other destruction.

Forestry specialists say a major change in forest management policy is necessary, and this conflict could be an opportunity to reform this sector. Among the proposed solutions are the creation of mosaics of different types of forest, managed for a mixture of regeneration and timber cutting. Additionally, protecting groundwater is necessary in forest management. Mixed-species forests with well-scattered trees of different ages would be less susceptible to strong fires and the increasing drought that is becoming more common in the region.

Ecologists are optimistic that Ukraine will be able to emerge from this conflict and are already planning a green future after the war, but political will is needed to change the current regime that allows for monoculture in Ukraine's forests.

Source: Science