POLISH STATE FORESTS MOVE FORWARD THEIR CARBON FORESTS PROJECT

A pilot project which aims to achieve an increased absorption of C02 in forest ecosystems is currently being implemented by the Polish State Forests – Lasy Państwowe – and is resulting in additional activities for forest management

Not only reducing emissions but also increasing absorption of CO2 is a way to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. International agreements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and most recently the Paris Agreement (2015) have clearly indicated that forests and forestry are among the most effective tools to counteract the negative effects of climate change.

Silvicultural measures to enhance carbon sequestration that go beyond the regular practice within sustainable forest management (SFM) are currently being tested in 23 state forest districts throughout Poland.  The project will continue over the next 30 years during which the results and effectiveness of the introduced measures will be constantly monitored and assessed.

EUSTAFOR Strategy Review Workshop in Belfast, Northern Ireland – background documents available now

EUSTAFOR Strategy Review Workshop will be held back-to-back with the ExCom meeting (ExCom members only) on 28-30 November 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland and will be hosted by Northern Ireland Forest Service, a Member of EUSTAFOR.

We strongly encourage all EUSTAFOR’s member organizations to take part in the Strategy Review Workshop and actively participate in setting out our association’s strategic objectives for the coming years.

Together with this workshop, the Northern Ireland Forest Service will offer all participants a unique opportunity to learn about specific features of forest management in Northern Ireland, with both an introduction to the opportunities and challenges currently faced by Northern Ireland and a field visit to forests in the scenic Antrim Coast and Glens area of Northern Ireland.

Registration

Please fill in the registration form as soon as possible. Travel information can eventually be provided at a later date with the link provided to you on submitting the form.

Link to the Registration Form

Hotel bookings must be reserved by 09 November 2018.

Please reserve your rooms at the Titanic Hotel Belfast (link to the hotel) with the following Booking Reference: Reservation no “048589” (Dept of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs).

How to integrate farmers and foresters into bioeconomy value chains?

Directorate-General for Agriculture of the European Commission convened a workshop “Best practices for integrating primary producers (farmers and forest owners) in the bioeconomy value chains and boosting the development of the bioeconomy in rural areas“.

The workshop, held on 20 – 21 September 2018 in Brussels, discussed the implementation of the National Bioeconomy Strategies (NBSs) in different Member States (MS) and how  primary producers can be involved in these processes. EUSTAFOR actively assisted the organizers by collecting foresty case studies.

The event provided a good opportunity to present specific national bioeconomy cases. For the forest sector, Mr. Gustav Tibblin (SODRA) presented the case of a specific business model on how to involve private forest owners in the bioeconomy.  Sodra is a forest owner cooperative, which brings together more than 51,000 members – mostly small farmers, who gain additional income from participating in the bioeconomy chain. Each member holds one share and once a year half of the co-operative’s profits are paid as dividends to the owners.

Mr. Jan Wintzell (Sveaskog) explained a production chain of biofuels from tall oil. The case of the company SunPine, owned by 5 shareholders, was presented. The first investment in bio-fuel production (2006)  was financially risky because it was not clear if the investment would pay off. In this context Mr. Wintzell pointed out the importance of an effective policy framework with clear objectives, such as the Renewable Energy Directive(RED), to effectively support the development of the bioeconomy.

Finally, Mr. Andrzej Schleser from the Polish State Forests presented the case for promoting the use of wood for the construction of housing. Although the use of wood in the construction industry provides many advantages, such as price, weight and strength ratio and fire safety, there are also barriers to the use of wood. One of the obstacles is the existing lack confidence in the fire-resistance of wood and the use of wood as a valid substitute material for reinforced concrete.

To sum up, the cases which were presented and the subsequent discussions pointed out the continuous necessity to support research and development in order to find new innovative uses for wood. Furthermore, solutions are needed to eliminate, or at least reduce, bureaucratic burdens for primary producers. Boosting consumer use of wood supports the development of the bioeconomy.

The European forest sector and sustainable forest management practices play an important part in the bioeconomy and, ultimately, in achieving Europe’s climate and sustainable development objectives, including those of the Paris Agreement.

Please, find the report of the workshop recently published by the European Commission at the following link.

 

CARRIERS invest IN DRIVER TRAINING

Timber transportation service providers carry out driver training to provide a high-quality and efficient service (economic and safe driving, assessment of the size and quality of timber, etc.).

For JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) a professional, competent, knowledgeable driver means a better quality service – a forestry forwarder driver is familiar with all the requirements of the company, both general and specific labour and environmental protection requirements, as well as the requirements concerning various certifications. Such drivers know both the most efficient, accurate working techniques, as well as how to handle specific situations without incurring additional losses or costs.

In turn, for a carrier, a professional driver means lower fuel and technical park repair costs, faster and more accurate loading of cargo to be transported and more accurate determination of the amount of timber loaded. The driver’s ability to act and make decisions in different substandard situations also means less downtime, costs, etc.

The more efficiently the transport service provider works, the more competitive and high-quality service it will be able to offer to LVM and LVM, in turn, to its customers – Latvian woodworking companies.

© LVM
Timber haulage in Latvia

Since its foundation in 1999, Joint Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests” implementing sustainable forest management has paid one billion euros to state and local government budgets. LVM’s economic activities are carried out by maintaining and recovering forests, taking care of nature conservation, recreation opportunities and increasing timber volumes, as well as investing in expanding the forestland and developing forest infrastructure – renovation of drainage systems and forest road construction. The volume of timber in the forests managed by LVM increases by 12 million cubic metres annually.

WHAT’S NEW IN BIODIVERSITY AND NATURE

The coordination group for Biodiversity and Nature were held in Brussels on 18thSeptember 2018. The main topics of discussion were the LIFE projects, funding, CAP and its impact on biodiversity, Biodiversity and Nature strategies, Green Infrastructure, Horizon Europe, Forest Strategy and EU initiation of pollination.

Finances for nature and biodiversity protection

Questions about available funds for biodiversity and environmental projects were raised, but the Commission argued that the final allocation of resources will be known when the Multiannual Financial Framework and CAP are decided. Already now it was known that, in the new CAP, 30% of supportmust be targeted towards nature conservation.

Future CAP and biodiversity aspects

Rural development funds under CAP come from public money and should be used for public goods such as biodiversity, environmental protection, etc. The new CAP will recognize an even greater variety of “greening” measures such as the minimal area to set-aside from production, banning the cutting of edges and trees around the fields, non-intervention during bird-breeding season, support to environmental and climate change related investments and young farmers as well as providing payments for Natura 2000 areas in agricultural land, similar to what is currently done for forests now. A modernized system under a new CAP should allow avoiding overlaps (double funding) between the two pillars, while offering more flexibility and less bureaucracy to MS. However, Germany claims that there is too much freedom for MS which could allow agriculture, as a strong sector, to use EU funds for measures which do not meet the environmental objectives of the EU and may cause negative effects to nature.

EU action on pollinators

The EU has committed to halt the decline of pollinators. A recent public consultation received more than 60 000 replies, out of which 90% reported alarming situations. As a first step, the Commission announced the gathering of information on insect pollinators in order to cover the existing gaps in knowledge. In a second step,  the causes of decline will be tackled.  The action will include identification of threatened species and habitats, both in rural and urban areas. The impact of pesticides must be evaluated and their application controlled. In a third and final step, the Commission will develop actions to raise the awareness and engagement of entrepreneurs and society in Member States.

To accomplish the mentioned steps expert groups are needed, but finances for monitoring are under question.

More information about this initiative is available here.

Green infrastructure

The document “Informing strategic green infrastructure and restoration planning through mapping and assessment methods based on spatial and technical data” is under preparation by the European Commission. Following their public consultationthe Commission stated that it will consider all the comments and include them in the revised document. The next version of the document will appear at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.

Evolution of Biodiversity Strategy 2020

While discussing the implementation of the existing Biodiversity Strategy 2020 the CGBN experts called on making a stronger link to Sustainable Development Goals. Further work on the new strategy should be done based on a step-by-step approach, using non-technical language and reducing the possibilities of different interpretations.  The revised Strategy must also build on an analysis of the causes of implementation failures of the current strategy and seek solutions for improvement. At the event, France presented its national biodiversity strategy action plan, which consists of 90 different actions,  including those which support the bio-economy without causing harm to nature and/or biodiversity, halting the production of plastics, reducing light pollution and other measures to reduce the ecological footprint of economic development.

CONCLUSION OF ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL ON CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY

The Council of Environmental Ministers met on 11 October 2018 and adopted conclusions on:

climate change ahead of the UN Convention on Climate Change conference in Katowice in December 2018 (COP24), where they will urge all parties to accelerate the implementation of country-specific contributions in order to improve their mitigation efforts, taking into account inter alia sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity
and biodiversity ahead of the COP14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Egypt in November 2018. Ministers expressed their deep concern that the natural resource base and ecosystem services that humanity depends upon are at high risk and that most pressures driving biodiversity loss continue to increase.

The Council conclusions for the UNFCCC meetings

Council conclusions on CBD