The workshop “Pro-active Management of Forests to Combat Climate Change Driven Risks: Policies and measures for increasing forest resilience and climate change adaptation” was held on 3-4 September 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey, in the framework of the FOREST EUROPE Work Programme 2016-2020.
In order to promote the adaptation of forests and the forest-based sector to the projected impacts of climate change, the workshop aimed to:
- exchange views on potential adaptation options for increasing the resilience of European forests and the forest-based sector,
- discuss existing adaptation policies and their possible future development at different levels in the forest sector and beyond, including the need for coherent policies and policy objectives in other policy domains which have an impact on forestry,
- discuss the feasibility, reliability and effectiveness of adaptation measures for enhancing forest resilience, based on existing examples from different climatic conditions across Europe, and promoting the shift from emergency responses to preventive measures,
- understand success factors and challenges in the implementation of adaptation measures and evaluating the effectiveness of disturbance risk management practices.
The meeting resulted in the formulation of a number of key messages and recommendations which were compiled and further elaborated by the FOREST EUROPE Expert Group at its fourth meeting, held back to back with the workshop, and which are presented in the Workshop Report [LINK].
EUSTAFOR, which actively contributes to the FOREST EUROPE process and its Work Programme, was represented by Aigar Kallas, CEO RMK Estonia, who was one of the panelists and made a statement on behalf of EUSTAFOR.
Last weekend, schoolchildren, young people and families from all over Latvia had an opportunity to get acquainted with the forest sector in the largest forest awareness event in the Baltics – the Latvian Forest Days that took place in Tērvete. The two-day festival in the Land of Kurbads was visited by 13.5 thousand guests of all ages. On a 1.6 km long route, the Latvian Forest Days brought together 100 different forestry, woodworking and environment related organizations that took care of visitor education and well-being. Those interested were able to participate in forest cognitive workshops, to engage in diverse educational activities with dwarfs, Pigman and knowledgeable industry professionals.
The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) represents commercially-oriented state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The association currently has 34 members from 24 European countries who represent one third of the European Union’s forest area.
The overall goal of EUSTAFOR is to support and strengthen state forest management organizations throughout Europe, helping them to maintain and enhance their economically viable, socially beneficial, culturally valuable and ecologically responsible sustainable forest management.
The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) is a European Technology Platform recognized by the European Commission, with its headquarters situated in Brussels. It is supported by stakeholders in more than 20 European countries. The mission of FTP is, in line with the 2040 vision of FTP stakeholders, to support the implementation of a European Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda.
The forest-based sector is one of Europe’s largest sectors, and includes woodworking industries, pulp and paper industries and printing industries, as well as forest owners. It contributes some 8% of the EU’s total manufacturing added value, and sustainably manages forests covering 37% of the EU’s land area.
The successful candidate must be able to understand and communicate efficiently with the European institutions, relevant forestry and forest-sector stakeholders, industry associations and confederations in Brussels, as well as with EUSTAFOR’s member organizations and FTP’s national and regional stakeholders.
The successful applicant will be posted to EUSTAFOR and FTP’s Head Offices located in the European Forestry House in Brussels.
The main responsibilities of the position are:
- Drafting and publishing content (in English) for the associations’ websites and social media
- Publishing newsletters and press releases, contributing to the elaboration of statements, position papers, presentations, fact sheets and other promotional materials (in English)
- Outreach activities:
- Liaising with members, stakeholders, project partners, national experts, scientific and academic experts
- Establishing contacts with journalists
- Developing communication activities together with other partner organizations
- Analyzing target groups (such as, but not limited to, the European institutions and European member states, other stakeholders, industry) and the effectiveness of the communications activities undertaken
- Organizing and/or supporting other team members with internal and external events and meetings (both content & practical tasks) and post-meeting processing (e.g. drafting meeting minutes, website updates, etc.)
- Miscellaneous office administration, including occasional practical support to the European Forestry House Office Manager
- Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English (proficiency in French and/or Dutch is a plus)
- Critical thinking and a proven ability to condense the main message out of various contexts and complex situations
- Excellent knowledge of standard office applications and website content management systems (Drupal, WordPress & Mailchimp)
- Ability to be self-driven and work independently
- A flexible approach towards working both in terms of shifting tasks and the organization of work time
- Familiarity with communication techniques using social media and/or journalism
- A good understanding of the functioning of the European institutions
- Professional experience and understanding of the forest-based sector and/or the EU research and innovation landscape is considered a merit
- Proven ability to plan and organize events
- Experience of office management in a Belgian setting is a plus
Education & Training
- At least a 3-year university degree relevant to the position
Starting Date: As soon as possible
Applicants are asked to submit a CV (maximum 2 pages) and a cover letter (maximum 1 page) that also indicates salary expectations. Please send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com. The email subject should read: “Application FTP/EUSTAFOR Communications Officer”
Closing date for applications is 15 May 2019
European Forestry House
Rue du Luxembourg 66
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)2 239 23 00
The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) has started the first (out of two scheduled) stakeholder consultations in preparation of a new Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda of the Forest-Based Sector (SRA 2030). Participation of all FTP stakeholders is crucial to provide good feedback from all over Europe.
The new SRA 2030 should describe how the forest-based sector plans to reach the 10 ambitious Vision Targets specified in the FTP Vision 2040, launched in Vienna last year. Relevant mega-trends and policy challenges shaping the world of 2040 should be considered. Progress made since the existing SRA was launched in 2012 should also be taken into account so that we do not needlessly repeat R&I activities already successfully completed.
Throughout February, a small but dedicated team of experts, the SRA Editing Team, have worked intensively to prepare a first, raw draft SRA 2030 that outlines the research and innovation strategy needed to accomplish the 10 Vision Targets in FTP’s Vision 2040. The Editing Team introduced a new concept they call “Steps”. Steps are strategic improvements towards the Vision Targets and are easiest illustrated by a generic example: To make a new car model go faster, the engineers can, for instance, reduce weight or improve engine performance. These improvements would be the “Steps”. To accomplish a Step, e.g. reducing weight, specific Research & Innovation Activities are needed (e.g. develop new composite materials, develop new metal alloys or use a new, innovative design platform).
To reduce the complexity of the consultation, the “Steps” and the “Research & Innovation Activities” have been intentionally separated into two separate documents (see links). The questions asked are slightly different for these two documents but more explanations can be found in the PowerPoint presentation.
The FTP secretariat encourages all relevant stakeholders to take active part in this consultation. EUSTAFOR, as one of shareholders was invited to collect and process the contributions from State Forest Management Organizations. The feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org is welcome before the deadline: 15h00 CET, 29 March 2019.
Supporting documents and relevant explanations for the consultation will be made available on the FTP website. Should you have any additional needs for clarifications, please contact Mr. Johan Elvnert, Managing Director of FTP at email@example.com.
Reinhardt Neft, Managing Director of Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR, has been elected as the new President of EUSTAFOR. In addition to electing the members of the Executive Committee, EUSTAFOR’s General Assembly, held on 12 March 2019 in Brussels, also decided on the association’s Strategy for the coming 3 years. The new Strategy identifies relevant ways in which EUSTAFOR can effectively contribute to, and cope with, challenging developments in areas such as climate change, the bio- and circular economies, multi-purpose forestry as a provider of income, social benefits and ecosystem services, and biodiversity (including the management of protected areas).
“On behalf of EUSTAFOR, I would like to thank Per-Olof Wedin for his great effort on sustainable forestry in Europe during his presidency,” says Reinhardt Neft. “In my opinion, an important strength of EUSTAFOR is that we offer a platform which perfectly serves knowledge transfer between EUSTAFOR members. Moreover, one important strategic objective will be to increase communication on international and national level as well as to inform and convince the public that sustainably managed forests serve the economy, ecology and society equally,” says Reinhardt Neft.
EUSTAFOR’s members – dynamic and capable entities managing state forests in close to 25 European countries – regularly come together to exchange their knowledge and know-how, not only with each other, but also with other forest-sector stakeholders and EU decision makers. They base their positions on the successful and verified expert practices they have put in place in approximately 1/3 of the European Union’s forest area, including 14 million hectares of protected areas. Their consultative approach allows them to provide relevant, valuable and reliable input to the EU policy development processes.
“We are firmly convinced that forestry and sustainable forest management at international and national level play a crucial role on climate change mitigation. EUSTAFOR’s new Strategy will allow us to continue to be a constructive but also authoritative partner in every political process which affects sustainable forestry,” states Reinhardt Neft.
Reinhardt Neft replaces Per-Olof Wedin, CEO of Sveaskog (Sweden). Mr. Wedin has stepped down from EUSTAFOR’s presidency, which he held for four years, but will continue to serve on the committee. Further members of the Executive Committee, elected for a term of 2 years, include Metsähallitus (Vice-President – Finland), Lesy České Republiky s.p. (Czech Republic), Office National des Forêts (France), Coillte (Ireland), Lasy Państwowe (Poland), ROMSILVA (Romania) and Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus (Estonia).
For further information, please contact:
Reinhardt Neft, Managing Director of Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR, President of EUSTAFOR, tel. +49 941 6909 124
Piotr Borkowski, EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +32 219 23 04
EUSTAFOR was established in 2006. Its members are state forest management organizations from 24 European countries. These organizations practice sustainable forest management in approximately 1/3 of the EU’s forest area, including more than 16 million hectares of designated Natura 2000 sites and other forests protected by law. They harvest approximately 133 million m3 of round timber annually and, together, employ close to 100 000 people.
In the context of the European Commission’s ongoing work on developing a classification system for sustainable investments, EUSTAFOR and 6 other organizations have expressed their views on the topic of forest management in the proposed taxonomy regulation to the members of the Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG). Sent on 19 February 2019, the joint statement notably addresses the first round of climate mitigation activities drawn up by the TEG.
The signing organizations are:
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)
European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives (COPA COGECA)
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois)
European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS)
How to integrate forest education into school programme on a daily basis? How can forest experts and teachers cooperate to make work with students more efficient? These and other questions will be answered in the 14th European Forest Pedagogics Congress, which will take place in Riga and in Latvia’s State Forest Nature Park in Tērvete from 1 to 4 July.
The Congress is hosted by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) in cooperation with the National Centre for Education of the Republic of Latvia and Riga Technical University.
Designing bridges between forest and schools is the central theme of the Congress this year. The programme includes a number of theoretical and practical activities, developing new teaching methods, as well as exchange of views of experienced Latvian and foreign lecturers, forest experts on different topical issues of forest pedagogy. On special outdoor excursions, the participants will have an opportunity not only to get to know Latvian traditions and one of its greatest riches – the forest, but also to acquire new ideas and inspiration for their everyday work.
On the first day of the Congress, the participants will meet in Riga to explore the Latvian state forests that adorn the coast of the Baltic Sea. The activities of the second day of the event will take place at Riga Technical University, where teachers from Latvia will join the Congress participants. All interested will have an opportunity to take part in various think tanks and workshops, where new teaching methods will be developed based on forest pedagogy. Lecturers from Latvia, the Czech Republic and Germany will share their experiences on matters such as restoring the relations between forest and people, cooperation between forest workers and educators as a basis for sustainable development, and other topical issues.
On the third day of the Congress, the participants will visit Latvia’s State Forest Nature Park in Tērvete to participate in the “market of ideas”; in turn, in the second half of the day time will be devoted to “Pecha-kucha” presentations. These are 6-minute presentations, where forest industry experts such as Daiga Brakmane and Mihails Basmanovs, representatives of the project “Skola 2030”, and Kristaps Ceplis, Head of the society “Zaļās mājas”, will share their experiences. After each presentation, there will be an opportunity to discuss the issues concerned.
Applications for the Congress are open until 31 May this year. All information in English and registration form can be found here.
The event is supported by the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Institute MeKA, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia, the Latvian Forest Research Institute “Silava”, the society “Zaļās mājas”, the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Educational Innovation of the University of Latvia and the project “Skola 2030”.
The European Forest Pedagogics Congress is organised annually to provide a platform for the exchange of experiences in the field of forest pedagogy. The continuity of congress is guaranteed by the Forest Communicators’ Network – Subgroup Forest Pedagogics that is part of both the UNECE Timber Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission.
For more information, please contact Tomass Kotovičs at email@example.com
Last December, the Commission published a progress report on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy, which was discussed by the European Parliament in January. This report comes at a time when forests and the forest-based sector are recognised as essential players in responding to major societal and environmental challenges. In a round table meeting organised on 4 February, the European forest-based sector conveyed a joint and clear message: An updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy is needed to ensure that in the coming decades forest-related EU policies are better coordinated and endorse sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests in a consistent way.
Forests and the forest-based sector are increasingly expected to deliver on recent and upcoming horizontal and sectoral EU policies (e.g. the Renewable Energy Directive; the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy; the LULUCF Regulation; the future Common Agricultural Policy; Sustainable Investments). A coalition of forest and forest-based sector associations have brought together around 60 representatives from EU institutions, the Romanian Presidency of the Council, research and stakeholders to exchange views on the future of the EU Forest Strategy and to explore possible ways forward to strengthen sustainable forest management in EU forest-related policies.
During the discussion, several stakeholders highlighted that the Commission progress report refrains from making concrete recommendations for the post-2020 period and reiterated their call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy to provide consistency among EU policies.
Mr Ionel Popa, a representative of the Romanian Presidency, indicated that the Council is working on its conclusions on the progress report that will also cover the role of the EU Forest Strategy beyond 2020.
Ms Jytte Guteland, Member of the European Parliament, stated that “the EU Forest Strategy should help to develop common ideas on sustainable forest management in order to ensure consistency when working on EU policies dealing with forests”.
Mr Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament commented: “Forestry can play a great role in achieving climate change objectives, but it can’t do this alone.”
For more information:
European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries (CEI-BOIS) Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General, firstname.lastname@example.org
Confederation of European Forests Owners (CEPF) Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General, email@example.com
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives (COPA COGECA) , Oana Neagu, Rural Development, Forestry and Bioeconomy Director, Oana.Neagu@copa-cogeca.eu
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director, email@example.com
Union of European Foresters (UEF) Michael Diemer, President of UEF, firstname.lastname@example.org
European Federation of Municipal Forest Owners (FECOF) Maximilian Hauck, Technical Advisor, email@example.com
Already for the second year, JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) invites both forest and timber industry representatives, as well as nature friends, to participate in the largest exploratory forest event in the Baltics – the Latvian Forest Days. Last year, the event in LVM Nature Park in Tērvete brought together more than 12 000 visitors. Also in 2019, the event is to take place in Latvia’s State Forests Nature Park in Tērvete on 24 and 25 May.
Every forest and timber industry company, educational institution, public organisation and other enthusiasts are invited to participate in this event with their own forest information stands. Please contact the event coordinator Normunds Namnieks by 1 February 2019, by calling 29181734 or writing to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, outlining briefly your capabilities. Each participant will be provided with free space for their activities by including them in the joint infrastructure of the event and in communication with the mass media.
Schools will have an opportunity to apply for the event from 1 March to 15 May on the website www.lvm.lv, where the published information on the planned activities will be gradually supplemented.
“The tradition-rich Forest Day events got a new form last year. The large number of forest and nature-related organisations that told the visitors about the forest as our most important natural resource, revealed the principles of environmentally friendly and sustainable forest management. It convinced us of the need to organise this event this year as well, with the hope of turning it into an annual celebration. The participants of the Latvian Forest Days have the opportunity to share their mutual experiences, to establish new friendships and to tell about themselves to thousands of persons interested. See you in LVM Nature Park in Tērvete, where the forest and the forest industry will become the central event of the Park for two days,” says Normunds Namnieks, Project Coordinator and Project Manager LVM Recreation and Hunting.
In the Latvian Forest Days 2018, visitors got to know the forest from different perspectives: discovered the depths of mysterious land and minerals, got acquainted with the facinating work of arborists, participated in demonstrations of the Latvian Red Deer Bellowing Club and watched a hunting dog parade. Modern forest management and road construction techniques attracted a great deal of interest from visitors. Participants could make their own bird cages and feather decorations. Enthusiasm and passion shone in the eyes of everyone who visited the various stands of forestry-related educational institutions and school students had an opportunity to get an insight into their possible future profession.
Latvian Forest Days is organised by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” in cooperation with Tērvete Municipality Local Government, the Latvian Forest Owners’ Association, the Latvian Wood Industry Federation and the society “Zaļās mājas”.
Following the joint statement by the forest sector “Call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy” on the report from the European Commission on progress in the implementation of the Forest Strategy, stakeholders held a round table event in Brussels to further discuss the need for an improvement in policy coherence in the future.
Since the EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 2013, the challenges for the European Forest Sector have been growing and the EU policy framework and the EU policies affecting forests have strongly evolved. The sector has therefore called on the European Commission, Parliament and Council to propose an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy, before the end of 2019, which encompasses recent and upcoming EU policies and is adequately resourced at the appropriate levels of the European institutions.
The issue was debated at a round table meeting during lunch time on 4 February 2019 (10.30-14.00) at the European Forestry House, rue du Luxembourg 66, 1000 Brussels.
PHOTO: Lithuanian State Forests © EUSTAFOR
Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) is a four-year project funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. From 2018 to 2022, SINCERE will develop novel policies and new business models by connecting knowledge and expertise from practice, science and policy, across Europe and beyond.
EUSTAFOR will play a major role in the dissemination of information on the project through our website, our member newsletter, but also through workshops and conferences. EUSTAFOR will support the implementation of a European-wide survey, to be distributed to members, which is meant to identify interesting cases for forest ecosystem innovations across Europe. In addition, a member meeting will be organized on the subject in order to provide the project organizer with relevant practitioner experiences in the area of ecosystem services.
Members will be invited to attend SINCERE workshops and conferences. EUSTAFOR will be a co-organizer of the final science policy event in Brussels to take place in November 2021.
For more information on the project can be found on EUSTAFOR’s website page dedicated to the SINCERE Project.
Previous work by EUSTAFOR on ecosystem services:
Ecosystem Services in European State Forests (brochure from 2011)
Ecosystem Services in European State Forests – Case Studies (2011)
The latest information from the most important geospatial data creators in Latvia has been updated and supplemented in the LVM GEO Mobile mobile device app created by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM). The app updates are binding on every resident of Latvia, as well as on forestry professionals.
With the new version of the app, anyone interested will now have on-line access to the State Land Service cadastre, the Rural Support Service Field Register and Nature Protection Board environmental protection areas: specially protected nature areas, microreserves and their buffer zones, EU habitats, secular trees, tree plantations, nature monuments and geological formations.
This new information can be viewed in the app along with the already available orthophoto, LVM forest map, terrain model, background map offered by the publishing house “Jāņa sēta”, ZMNĪ (Real Estate of the Ministry of Agriculture) reclamation cadastre, vegetation patterns, and other geospatial data and map services.
“Mobile and geospatial technologies have great potential, without which future forestry is unthinkable. Currently, the development of the LVM GEO Mobile app has just started and the work on its functional capabilities is continuing. However, we can already assess the importance of this application at the level of availability of new geospatial data that can be used by every resident of Latvia on their mobile devices. Collecting geospatial data and services in one place, making them available to any user, and, no less important, keeping the data up to date – these are just some of the important tasks for years to come. We are satisfied with the work done, but we continue to work on the next challenges, since this is just the beginning,” says Māris Kuzmins, Head of LVM GEO Geospatial Information Technology Development Team.
GEO Mobile is a free map application for mobile devices primarily intended for JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” and other forest management companies to receive geospatial tasks. However, LVM GEO Mobile app can be useful to anyone interested, for example, to find one’s bearings in nature.
JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) calls on secondary school students and students of vocational education institutions to participate in the LVM Bio-economy School scholarship competition. For the first round of the competition, all interested should submit their vision for a poster on the theme “Forest for Latvia. The Next 100”; it should be done before 31 January 2019.
After evaluating the posters submitted for the first round of the competition, the authors of the best works will have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge by heading for a one-day expedition to LVM-managed forests and JSC “Latvijas Finieris” factories together with industry experts. The acquired knowledge and the new impressions will help the contestants create a video message for the UN International Day of Forests, which will have the decisive role in the decision as to who will receive the LVM Bio-economy School scholarship.
JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” scholarship fund – 1500 euros. New this year – additional scholarships of recognition in the amount of 250 euros for two most creative students of schools in Riga city from LLC “Rīgas Meži”, and one scholarship for innovative presentation of wood products to be granted by JSC “Latvijas Finieris”.
The LVM Bio-economy School scholarship competition for secondary school students is already for the third year organised by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” in cooperation with the association “Zaļās mājas”, JSC “Latvijas Finieris”, LLC “Rīgas meži” and the National Centre for Education with the aim to raise public awareness of the growing role of forest resources in addressing environmental problems.
The registration form and additional information on the scholarship competition are available on the website www.lvm.lv/bioekonomika.
In October 2018, UNECE and FAO released the study “Forests and Water – Valuation and payments for forest ecosystem services” which shows how payments for ecosystem services schemes can be applied to forests, in particular in relation to their hydrological functions. The work provides the most comprehensive database of case studies currently available on water-related payments for forest ecosystem service schemes in the UNECE region.
The services provided by forest ecosystems for water quality, such as water purification, regulation of surface flows, and erosion control, are largely underestimated, but they are fundamental to reach the SDGs in the long term. Forest management should therefore maximize the hydrologic function of forests, the study suggests.
More information is available under this link.
Sveaskog, the Swedish SFMO, has developed an App for determining the height of a tree and other parameters (diameter, basal area, stems/ha), with an accuracy of approximately 2% and direct upload to the cloud.
This is an innovative tool, presented by one of EUSTAFOR members, which allows to simplify everyday forestry practices by replacing manual tools. It works by marking the base and the top of a tree with a smartphone camera.
The Arboreal Height App will be launched in the Apple Store as of January 2019.
The LIFE program, the EU’s most important financial tool for the environment, will hopefully be able to count on an extra funding of 2 billion EUR in the next programming period. The European Parliament, voting on the EC proposal for the LIFE program in the 2017-2012 period, approved on 20 November an amendment for raising the funding from €5.5 billion to €7.3 billion.
The LIFE program could then benefit from an extra €1.2 billion on the Commission’s proposal, with smaller increases for two sub-programs, one on biodiversity and one on circular economy and quality of life.
This decision aligns with the European Parliament’s vote on 11 December for an overall increase the Commission’s proposed multi-annual financial framework (MFF) from 1,1% to 1,3% of the EU’s gross national income. The European Parliament also voted to increase the EU budget for climate objectives from 25% to 30%.
Visit LIFE dedicated website here.
A new joint project by EFI-IFSA-IUFRO on “Global student networking and green jobs” has been launched on 30 November. The project analyzes the changes in employment in the forest sector and prepares current forest students and young scientists for future leadership.
The forest sector has significantly changed in recent years, due to globalization, international trade and climate change. This has in turn transformed the nature of jobs in forestry, which have switched from more traditional management and industry jobs to ones related to climate change adaptation, environmental education, recreation, tourism and nature protection.
To make sure that forestry students are prepared for these new challenges, EFI, in close cooperation with IFSA (International Union of Forestry Students) and IUFRO (International Union of Forestry Research Organization) launched the project “Global student networking and green jobs.” The project aims at providing insight into the forestry labor market, offering networking opportunities to young scientists and engaging students in science-policy processes. It has a three‑year duration, starting as of December 2018.
More information is available under this link.
On 21 November 2018 the updated guidance document providing the interpretation of the provisions of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive (Commission Notice, C(2018) 7621 final, 21/11/2018) was released by the Commission.
All versions of the document are available in all languages on this dedicated DG ENV website.
EUSTAFOR contributed to the review of the guidance document and, on 4 December 2017, submitted its comments suggesting clarification of certain aspects.
The European Commission published the Guidance on cascading use of biomass with selected good practice examples on woody biomass during the Raw Materials Week which took place on 12-16 November 2018, in Brussels.
The guidance addresses the use of woody biomass within the circular economy commitment to ‘promote efficient use of bio-based resources through dissemination of best practices on the cascading use of biomass and support for innovation in the bio-economy.’ Non-binding, this guidance explains cascading use and provides some principles and practices to inspire stakeholders when applying the concept. The practices presented in this document come from a range of stakeholders, EU research projects, studies and other sources. Although there is a large knowledge base on cascading use, work on this guidance has brought to light some gaps in current research.
The Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in 2015 aims to turn Europe’s economy into a more sustainable economy, boosting Europe’s global competitiveness, promoting sustainable economic growth and generating new jobs. The actions in the plan seek to close the life-cycle loop of products and materials by keeping their value in the economy as long as possible, minimizing the generation of waste and maximizing recycling and reuse. This ‘circularity’ will benefit both the environment and the economy.
The guidance addresses the importance of a market-based approach, does not address sustainable wood mobilization and is not legally binding. These were some of the essential issues for EUSTAFOR and other stakeholders prior to the publication of the guidance.
EUSTAFOR has actively followed the process on the cascading use of biomass by sharing with other stakeholders a Joint statement on the EU Non-Binding Guidance on the Cascading Use of Biomass and through the work of EUSTAFOR’s internal Working Group on Bioeconomy.
On 8 March 2018 the European Commission published its strategy for a financial system that supports the EU’s climate and sustainable development agenda. The Action Plan on sustainable finance is part of the Capital Markets Union’s (CMU) efforts to connect finance with the specific needs of the European economy to the benefit of the planet and our society. It is also one of the key steps towards implementing the historic Paris Agreement and the EU’s agenda for sustainable development. As a part of this work, the Commission submitted a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment to the European Council and the European Parliament on 24 May 2018.
The proposed Regulation lays the foundation for an EU framework which puts Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations at the heart of the financial system to support the transformation of Europe’s economy into a greener, more resilient and circular system. To make investments more sustainable, ESG factors should be considered in the investment decision-making process when taking into account such factors as greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, or working conditions.
Following the submission, both the European Council and the European Parliament have started their internal processes on the draft Regulation. While the work may not necessarily be very advanced in the Council, more progress was made at the European Parliament, where two committees – the Committees on Environment (COMENVI) and on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) – are working on a Joint Report with rapporteurs MEP Bas Eickhout (NL/Greens) and MEP Sirpa Pietikainen (FI/EPP).
At first look, the Commission proposal, if adopted, may have a significant impact on the political and legal situation of forestry in the European Union. The proposal Includes a definition of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) which is almost identical to that definition in the Helsinki Resolution 1 of the MCPFE/FOREST EUROPE process. As envisaged in the draft EP Report (page 34, Amendment 44), the Parliament already started making modifications to this definition and this must be prevented unless the Member States are ready to give the go-ahead to the EU to define SFM on its own authority.
Also important to know is that the draft regulation introduces:
- a system of criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities (Article 3, page 26),
- Environmental Objectives (Article 5, page 27), including the explanation of “substantial contribution” to the protection of healthy ecosystems, among them sustainable forest management (Article 11, p. 1 subpoint (d)– page 30)
- a provision which states that the Commission shall adopt a delegated act to establish technical screening criteriafor determining under which conditions a specific economic activity is considered, for the purposes of this regulation, to contribute substantially to the above objectives.
In order to inform its work on the action plan on financing sustainable growth, the Commission established a technical expert group on sustainable finance (TEG) in July 2018. The action plan requests the TEG to publish a report based on a broad consultation of all relevant stakeholders. The group is now asking for feedback on the first proposed activities that contribute substantially to climate change mitigation and on the usability of this first list of activities. EUSTAFOR received an invitation to provide its expertise by 22 February 2019, whereas nominations for experts for the technical expert group on sustainable finance must be submitted by 4 January 2019.
The EUSTAFOR Office is currently analyzing the ongoing process on sustainable finance taking place both in the Commission and at the European Parliament. However, already at this stage, we would like to draw the attention of all member organizations to this work and kindly ask you to take action with your respective ministries at national level to:
- Clarify how much the work has been followed by the forestry authorities of your Member State;
- Analyze what will be the real impact of establishing a legal definition of SFM and a relevant sustainability verification scheme (criteria) at EU level on your national legislation on forests and forest management;
Give feedback to the EUSTAFOR office in Brussels as regards the possible steps to be taken at EUSTAFOR level (position paper, list of proposed amendments to be submitted to the EP, a letter to the European Commission, etc.).
In the eustafor.express No 71 we provided information about the ongoing CAP reform and the package published by the European Commission. Even though the legislative process cannot be finished by the end of the current parliamentary term, the European Parliament continues to progress on this file and the EUSTAFOR Office continues to follow the work on the draft CAP Strategic Plans Regulation by two EP commissions: COMAGRI and COMENVI. Earlier this month EUSTAFOR sent a number of MEPs its proposals for amendments to the draft COMAGRI Report coordinated by MEP Esther Herranz García (EPP/ES) and to the COMENVI draft opinion by MEP Giovanni La Via (EPP/IT).
The draft rapporteurs’ reports, amendments submitted by the EUSTAFOR Office and the lists of submitted amendments in COMAGRI are available on the Intranet.
Members of EUSTAFOR who are particularly interested in this policy file are advised to visit the site and advise the Brussels Office of their opinions which can be further transmitted to the EP. We highly recommend and encourage our members to take action at national level.
On 28 November 2018, the European Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet For All. The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning actions in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition.
The 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets the goal to contain the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1,5°C. All parties to the Paris Agreement are invited to submit mid-century strategies by 2020.
The strategy confirms Europe’s commitment to lead in global climate action through a socially fair transition and provides a first indication of the direction of travel to frame what the EU could consider as its long-term contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement temperature objectives. The Strategy also clearly underlines that a transition towards climate neutrality cannot happen without the mobilization of important growth-enhancing and supporting policies, such as competition, labor market, skills development, regional cohesion, taxation and other structural policies.
The strategy refers to terrestrial and marine ecosystems as an essential asset for mitigating climate change. At global level, these natural “carbon sinks” absorb 50% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions including, in particular, through the oceans. It states that maintaining and further increasing the natural sink of forests, agricultural lands and wetlands in the EU is important. It also helps to compensate any remaining greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be avoided. In this context, preserving and restoring ecosystems and nature-based solutions have a key role to play and provide multiple benefits for mitigating climate change and adapting to its consequences. They provide a set of services that protect us from the effects of climate change, such as water retention, flood control, air quality improvements and protection against desertification and the heat island effect in cities, while contributing to climate change mitigation.
Unfortunately no significant attention is given to the needs and costs of adaptation of ecosystems to changing climatic conditions whereas afforestation is pointed out as one of the major future solutions. In the latter case, however, no analysis of land availability has been made.
The strategy is not a legislative proposal, but a strategic vision, supported by a detailed analysis, on how the EU can deliver on the Paris Agreement while enhancing the co-benefits of emission reductions and transforming its economy for the 21st century.
The European Council, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee have been invited to consider the EU vision for a climate neutral Europe by 2050. The long-term strategy is also an invitation to the national parliaments, business sector, non-governmental organizations, cities and communities, as well as citizens – and especially the youth, to participate in ensuring the EU can continue to show leadership and hold other international partners to doing the same. This EU-wide informed debate should allow the EU to adopt and submit an ambitious strategy by early 2020 to the UNFCCC as requested under the Paris Agreement.
The EU forest strategy is achieving its aim of encouraging sustainable forest management both in the EU and globally, the mid-term review has found. The report “Progress in the implementation of the EU forest strategy” released on 7 December 2018 concludes that the strategy has set clear aims and has successfully coordinated efforts to achieve them.
The Forest Strategy was set up in 2013 to coordinate the European Union’s response to the challenges that are faced by our forests and the forest sector. It sets out specific actions to achieve eight key priorities.
An effective forest strategy is an essential element of the EU’s wider climate policy. By encouraging and promoting the sustainable management of forests and their multifunctional role, the strategy helps to fight deforestation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon, to enhance resilience of ecosystems to a fast-changing climate and to protect and preserve biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
The report shows that the majority of the actions, across all 8 priority areas, have been implemented as envisaged.
As announced on 19 November by Ian Gambles, Simon Hodgson will leave his current position as CEO of Forest Enterprise England (FEE), to head Forestry and Land Scotland, an new agency created by the Scottish Government to take over the management of Scottish national forest estates from the former Forest Enterprise Scotland.
In turn, Forest Enterprise England, which manages UK’s forest estates, will change its name to Forestry England as of 1 April 2019. Despite the change of name, the organization will continue its work to ensure that English forests are run effectively according to social, environmental and economic objectives.
Simon Hodgson will be head of the Forestry Enterprise Scotland as of 14 January 2019, leading it through the transition to Forestry and Land Scotland. Ian Gambles will take on the role of CEO of Forest Enterprise England from January 2019 until a new CEO is in place.
EUSTAFOR would like to congratulate Simon Hodgson on his new appointment. We look forward to continued collaboration with both England and Scotland.
The Forest Academy for Decision Makers meeting “Building dialogue on forest-based solutions to address global challenges” took place on 21.11.2018 – 25.11.2018 in Southern Finland. The Executive Director of EUSTAFOR took part in a dialogue with decision makers from Brussels and the Member States.
This year the Academy was hosted by H.E. Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden. The session was attended by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D/Finland) and MEP Paul Brannen (S&D/UK) along with the representatives of Cabinets of Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska , Carlos Moedas, Phil Hogan, Vice President Jyrki Katainen and other representatives of the European Commission, the Council and European Investment Bank.
EU decision makers we made aware of an abundance of new best practices, technologies, groundbreaking ideas and innovations during the three days of this first Forest Academy meeting, organized for them by Finland and Sweden. The importance of the forest sector in the mitigation of climate change was effectively revealed by the eye-opening presentations from ministers of the two countries as well as top CEOs and experts. The various opportunities and the huge potential of forests were welcomed by a highly receptive audience.
The Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers is organized by the Finnish Forest Association and Swedish Forest Agency on the basis of the extremely successful Finnish Forest Academy for Decision Makers. The Academy, working with the patronage of the Finnish Prime Minister, has educated 1500 top Finnish decision makers to better understand the potential and status of forests and forestry. The Swedish Forest Agency will lead the next Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers.
The study shows that the Mediterranean forest area has increased by 2% between 2010 and 2015 (which corresponds to 1.8 million hectares).
Despite this positive trend and their potential for adaptation, Mediterranean forests are affected by degradation and are now being menaced by climate change, population rise, wildfires and water scarcity in an unprecedented way.
Climate change is the most significant threat to all Mediterranean forests. The main problems in the north of the Mediterranean are land abandonment and fires, whereas in the south-east area, which is affected by a rapid population growth, the main factor of degradation is the over-exploitation of natural resources (fuelwood, grazing, human pressure).
The degradation of forests also causes a loss of biodiversity in the Mediterranean region which is the world’s second largest biodiversity hotspot. More than 300 Mediterranean animal and plant species are in danger. The most affected countries are Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco.
In a context of rapid changes in the Mediterranean area, forests, agro-forestry, urban trees and parks are critical to the overall sustainability of the area. The report recommends to countries measures for restoring forests as well as the ecosystem services provided by forests.
Forests cover 42 percent of the UNECE region, which embraces countries of North America, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Forests are not only the dominant type of land cover but also a critical element for ecosystem maintenance and sustainability. While studies and reports on the region’s forests undertaken so far provided extensive information on their state and functions in general, there is little information about their owners and managers.
To address this gap and to learn more about forest ownership, how it is changing, and the implications for management and policy, the UNECE and FAO, in cooperation with the COST Action FACESMAP as well as with support of the European forest owners’ organizations developed a study on the “State of Forest Ownership in the UNECE Region”, based on a survey of national data and expert opinion.
Although over 80 percent of the UNECE region’s forests are publicly owned, the region is characterized by the most diverse ownership structures in the world. However, apart from Canada and the Russian Federation which share almost two thirds of the UNECE region’s forests, in the remaining part of the region the shares of public and private forests are almost equal. Within the two broadest categories of ownership, public and private, forests are owned and managed through a variety of tenure and institutional arrangements. The pan-European region adds to this complex picture even more than the others.
The study presents information gathered on forest policies and forest management under different ownerships and describes different public and private forest owners along with their perspectives on forest management.
At the seminar held in European Forestry House, Brussels, on 14 December 2018, the authors of the study presented an analysis of forest coverage, forest policies and forest management under different ownership schemes. The main results of the study, including the thematic inter-active database, guided discussion of the status, trends, opportunities and challenges of forest ownership in the region, with the representatives of European Institutions, representatives of forest owners’ organizations and the Brussels-based stakeholders.
“Ownership may appear to be a relatively straightforward concept, but when we examine it we find it is quite complex, entailing different rights, responsibilities, organizational procedures and understandings that vary considerably depending on country and context. These differences, in turn, profoundly affect the way forests are managed and thereby the benefits that can be derived from them” explained Prof. Anna Lawrence, the coordinating lead author of the study.
“Forest ownership structure in the pan-European region is very complex and requires proper explanation and understanding. This is particularly important in the case of state owned forests since the general public expects to be able to continuously benefit from multiple goods and services provided by forests. The report explains this complex system and allows to understand who can use what resource, for how long and under what conditions,” said Mr. Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director, European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR).
“One of the main challenges faced by European private ownership today is fragmentation and parcelization. This is confirmed by the UNECE/FAO report which brings very useful insights to better understand this situation. In this context, when dealing with forest-related issues, the EU policy framework should always keep in mind forest owners’ possibilities and motivations when managing their forests, so that they can best make use of their strengths. Overall, acknowledgement of property rights plays a key role in fostering the active and sustainable management of forests,” commented Ms. Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General, Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF).
“Public forest ownership is very diverse and, among other types, includes communal forest ownership. The communal, sometimes also called municipal, form of ownership is characterized by significant impact of forest management on the welfare of local communities, both urban and rural. Therefore, it requires proper recognition among other ownership types,” added Mr. Maximilian Hauck from the European Federation of Municipal and Local Community Forests (FECOF).
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Office S-433-1, Palais des Nations
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH – 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 2879
On 5 December 2018, the Government of Belgium signed an initiative calling on the European Commission to develop an action plan against deforestation and forest degradation before the end of its mandate in mid 2019.
The initiative aims to provide a fair income to cocoa producers and stop deforestation driven by cocoa production by 2030. Recent studies have shown that cocoa plantations are the number one cause of deforestation in West Africa.
Belgium is the seventh EU Member State to have claimed a stronger legislation against deforestation, after Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy.
The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) launched its Vision 2040, a document in which research and innovation priorities of the forest-based sector are discussed, at a conference organized together with Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on 20 November 2018, in Vienna. EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director spoke in the panel discussion of this conference along with other FTP stakeholders. The recently released Vision 2040 sets out 10 targets, of which three deal directly with forests and their sustainable management.
FTP’s Vision 2040 aims to make the forest-based sector even more dynamic and innovative in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for renewable raw materials while at the same time addressing the objectives of the global Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as those of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the overall Climate and Energy Policy objectives of the European Union.
Since its first Vision was published in 2005, the FTP has played a significant role in creating knowledge, technologies and innovations in the forest-based sector, through Europe-wide collaborations.
FTP serves as a platform to bring together stakeholders and policy and decision makers. National Support Groups (NSGs) serve to secure regional support for the platform by coordinating national business, research bodies, authorities and funding agencies. The NSGs participate in the FTP Advisory Committee. The FTP board is comprised of representatives of the industry, the chair of the Advisory Committee, and at least one of FTP’s four shareholders: EUSTAFOR, CEPI, CEPF, CEI-Bois.
Europe’s forest owners and managers recognize the efforts made in the agreement struck during the trilogue talks on the updated EU Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). But to ensure that forests and the forest-based sector continue to contribute positively to the EU’s post-2020 climate and energy targets, care must be taken to ensure that implementation of REDII does not create counterproductive results.
The recast of the Renewable Energy Directive is the first EU Directive which deals with sustainability requirements for forest management. Even though it applies only to bioenergy, the impact of the Directive is much wider as forests are not solely used for bioenergy purposes.
Forest owners and managers welcome the fact that the Directive takes account of existing legislation on forests and forest management in the EU and in Member States. In fact, sustainable forest management has been defined and agreed on by the EU within the framework of the Forest Europe process and its principles have been incorporated into Member States’ forest and nature legislation.
The undersigned organisations regret, however, that the agreement struck during the trilogue negotiations uses imprecise wording for sustainability requirements, which may have a negative impact on the future implementation of this Directive due to the complex and heavy verification process.
“We assess positively the decision to apply a risk-based approach for the verification of forest biomass sustainability. It is nevertheless of crucial importance that the proposed system is based on clear and precise requirements. It must be feasible at operational level and should not negatively impact the development of the bioeconomy, in which bioenergy plays an important role, especially in rural areas”, stated Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.
“Carelessly defined sustainability requirements and their imprecisely determined scope – such as the inclusion of unverifiable parameters like soil quality – will impose unnecessary administrative and legislative burdens and will undermine the feasibility of the entire risk assessment system. We sincerely hope that this will not hinder wood mobilization from Europe’s forests”, said Meri Siljama, Interim Secretary General of CEPF.
On a positive note, we believe that by keeping feedstocks such as tall oil and pulpwood in the raw materials list, the EU has recognized the important contribution of forest-based advanced biofuels as one of the solutions to ensure a more climate-friendly transport sector.
“We hope that the implementation of the updated Directive will ensure stability for current and planned investments and simplification both at EU and national level. However, we are disappointed about the possibility that Member States may include additional sustainability requirements for forest bioenergy’’, highlighted Pekka Pesonen, Secretary-General of Copa and Cogeca.
As a next step, forest owners and managers believe that it is crucial that care is taken when developing the guidance rules for demonstrating compliance with the sustainability requirements applied in the risk-based approach, to ensure that the subsidiarity principle and distribution of competences between the EU and its Member States are respected.
For further information, please contact:
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
Meri Siljama, CEPF Interim Secretary General, Tel.: +32 2 2392 307
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)
Salvatore Martire, EUSTAFOR Policy Advisor, Tel.: +32 (0)2 239 23 06
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperative (Copa and Cogeca)
Oana Neagu, Copa and Cogeca Director, Tel.: +32 2 287 27 26
Amanda Cheesley, Copa and Cogeca Press Officer, Mobile: + 32 474 840 836
Stakeholders representing the raw materials sector, EUSTAFOR included, are invited to participate in the open consultation on the Research & Innovation Roadmap 2050 for the European Raw Materials sector, under preparation by the EU funded research project VERAM – Vision and Roadmap for European Raw Materials. The project is handled mainly by FTP (Forest-based Sector Technology Platform).
The roadmap will lay out key activities required to secure a sustainable and competitive supply of raw materials to European industries, boosting jobs and competitiveness, and contribute to addressing global challenges.
The consultation gives a chance to influence future research and innovation funding as well as the mid- and long-term evolution of the raw materials sector. The roadmap will indirectly influence future priorities of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials and the EU’s framework programs for research and innovation.
To access the consultation documents and deliver your input, please go to the dedicated VERAM web page and follow the instructions.
The draft Roadmap 2050 is organized into 4 broad priorities and contributions can be made to one or several of the priorities if relevant:
- Supply of raw materials;
- Production of raw materials;
- Closed loops;
- New products and applications.
To deliver your input, please send the documents using track changes in Word to email@example.com no later than 15 December 2017.
Should you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the Consultation Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org
The consultation is open to all stakeholders and the input received will be key to finalizing the roadmap by April 2018. Your contributions, as well as your support in spreading the word to other stakeholders, are welcome.
The VERAM projects partners are:
Johan Elvnert, Managing Director, Forest-based Sector Technology Platform & Work Package Leader
Corina Hebestreit, Director, Euromines & VERAM Project Coordinator
EUSTAFOR is joining an awareness campaign, called the European Bioenergy Day. The campaign, to be launched by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), has as its main objective to promote bioenergy. This public awareness and media campaign will aim to underpin the 21 November 2017 as the symbolic day after which the EU’s fuel consumption for 2017 is based entirely on renewable bioenergy.
Starting on 21 November 2017, the campaign can be followed at http://www.europeanbioenergyday.eu and via Twitter @AEBIOM and also via the EUSTAFOR website.
“EUSTAFOR is joining the awareness campaign because it is important to highlight the role of bioenergy not only for climate change mitigation but also for forestry as it uses low-quality wood assortments,” says Executive Director Piotr Borkowski.
EUSTAFOR is engaging by providing the campaign with two case stories from Estonia and Finland, to be posted at the campaign’s website, and through social media. In the case of Estonia, wood is the largest alternative to non-renewables and the Estonian State Forest Management Centre (RMK) is a major supplier of energy wood in the country. The other case study comes from Lapland where Levi, Finland´s largest winter holiday resort, is heated with wood supplied by the state forest enterprise Metsähallitus.
“These two practical cases demonstrate the remarkable role European state forests can play in enabling a shift from fossil fuels to renewables, thereby contributing to the European Union’s efforts to meet its climate and energy targets,” says Mr. Borkowski.
Europe still relies on fossils
The European Bioenergy Day campaign makes use of original analogies to explain where the EU stands in the development of renewables and, in particular, bioenergy. By spreading the projection for Europe’s energy demand in 2017 across the calendar year, it makes clear that: Europe is still relying heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the first 299 days; Renewables follow with 66 days of clean energy; Bioenergy accounts for 41 days, starting on 21 November through to the end of the year.
The positive message, according to AEBIOM, is that since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Directive in 2008, this date has never come so early in the year. This encouraging outcome will be celebrated during the European Bioenergy Future Conference to take place in Brussels on 21-22 November 2017.
According to AEBIOM, the bioenergy sector should demonstrate an ambition to advance this date to October by 2030, hitting a renewable energy target of 35 % of the EU’s annual consumption, with bioenergy from biomass as a key driver.
17 November 2017
“The renewed policy context provides a new momentum for updating the EU Bioeconomy Strategy,” affirms Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR). “We support a Bioeconomy Strategy which recognizes the full value of forestry’s contribution towards meeting global challenges as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and which would give more coherence to the EU Policy framework.”
Today, EUSTAFOR is launching eight policy messages, a contribution on behalf of state forests to the debate on advancing the European bioeconomy. Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area and provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials in addition to many other important ecosystem services. Moreover, EUSTAFOR members – European State Forest Management Organizations – perceive themselves as catalyzers of the bioeconomic development in European countries and regions due to their scale, stability and commitment to sustainable forest management.
On 16 November 2017, the European Commission launched its review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, which reports on the role of the bioeconomy in research and innovation and within the context of EU policy.
EUSTAFOR is contributing 8 policy messages geared towards achieving an ambitious update of the strategy. The messages are available at this link.
More information on the same topic can be found in EUSTAFOR’s brochure: “State Forests Boost the Bioeconomy,” which is available at this link.
The bioeconomy has the potential to be the next major economic development, especially in rural and remote areas of Europe. Shifting to a bioeconomy is also of central importance towards fulfilling the ambitions of Paris Agreement in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area. They provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials as well as other ecosystem services to create the much-needed shift to a sustainable circular economy. The use of domestically available raw materials has a positive impact on securing the supply of energy and goods. At the same time, the diversity in terms of needs and capacities between the different European regions must be acknowledged. Fostering sustainable forest management throughout Europe will safeguard and avoid the risk of over-exploitation resulting from higher demands on forests.
In order to allow the forestry sector to fully contribute to Europe’s targets in relation to employment, research and development, climate change and energy, education and social inclusion, the European state forests are looking forward to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy, which will:
1. Improve policy coherence
To deploy investments, the market needs to have a clear political direction. Therefore, a long‑term vision and commitment to developing the European bioeconomy is needed. Ambitious goals need to be set and actions must be monitored over time. EUSTAFOR supports a stable and coherent legal and policy framework, especially in relation to the 2030 climate and energy framework and its connection with the deployment of the bioeconomy.
2. Encompass the ecosystem management dimension
The market value of sustainable products needs to be enhanced by promoting sustainable management of (forest) ecosystems and the supply of raw materials. An objective and comparative evaluation of the ecosystem services and non-wood products which forestry provides to society should be better recognized and more fully valued. The evaluation should incorporate market-based tools.
3. Recognize the triple climate benefits forests provide
Sustainably managed forests and wood use deliver a triple carbon effect in mitigating climate change. They provide emission removal, carbon storage, and carbon displacement if wood is used to substitute for non- renewable and highly energy-intensive materials.
Policy needs to recognize the forest sector’s total positive contribution to mitigating climate change and foster sustainable multifunctional forestry. Specific instruments such as Green “climate-fit” Public Procurements (e.g. supporting wood such as Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) over other materials for use in construction) need to be adopted.
4. Value innovation and technology transfers
The connectivity and innovation capacity of the forest sector should be promoted. A strong innovation strategy and resources for technology transfer could significantly accelerate the development of the sector. In order to provide adequate conditions and to develop best practices in forestry operations, the development and research of silvicultural practices needs to be strengthened and technological developments and digitalization need to be supported.
5. Enhance the full range of uses of biomass
Creating value and profitability in all parts of the value cycle are key to a truly innovative bioeconomy. Restrictions on the use of biomass for certain products or supplies could lead to market distortions and cap research, innovation and development. Restrictions on biomass use could result in sub-optimal value cycles, limit innovation and penalize certain areas or industries over others.
6. Support new markets
There is a need to improve the flow of materials and residues within and between different industries and users in order to foster the efficiency of forest-based value cycles. Policy should, therefore, promote innovative pathways and new market opportunities for the use of wood. For example, improved product design rules could provide better opportunities for the recycling and reuse of forest materials.
7. Improve the competitiveness of forestry
In developing the bioeconomy, the mobilization of woody biomass needs to be fostered following the principles of Sustainable Forest Management. More support should be given to technological developments, workforce education and the enhancement of silvicultural practices.
EUSTAFOR recognizes the potential of a Bioeconomy Knowledge Center to improve sector competitiveness by developing cooperation, reaching new markets and better valuating the services provided by Europe’s forests.
8. Foster awareness and promote cooperation
The bioeconomy should be perceived as an opportunity to ensure the vitality of forest ecosystems, to promote green employment and increase the social value of forestry for the benefit of all. Full advantage must be taken of the synergies created by using wood and improving land management, by raising consumer awareness about the full bio-based value cycles and by promoting cooperation among experts and stakeholders.
EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, gathers together 33 State Forest Management Organizations from across Europe, which often are the single largest forest manager and biomass suppliers in Member States. State Forest Management Organizations provide biomass to a multitude of forest-based value cycles and, thanks to their scale, stability, reliability and openness to cooperation they can catalyze the development of the bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR members employ leading forest experts with deep knowledge of forest management. In fact, the role of state foresters is to balance different demands through multifunctional forestry in response to local conditions and societal needs, by advancing sustainability and creating value in state forests. EUSTAFOR’s views are based on the management expertise, which comes from their lengthy experience with a full diversity of European forests.
NOTE: Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.
My name is Anna Östberg. I am 18 years old and live in Jämtland, a region in northern Sweden. I am attending my last year in upper secondary school and, before graduating, my school offers its students the chance to do a freely chosen internship abroad.
As the daughter of two forest officers working in the Swedish forest sector, I have always spent a lot of time outdoors in the forests and mountains. I learned about EUSTAFOR through my father, who works for the Swedish State Forest company Sveaskog, and wanted to learn more about how the EU forest sector works.
In Brussels I have been researching information which best describes sustainable forest management and EUSTAFOR within the forest sector, at both EU and international levels. I am also reviewing the EU’s decision-making procedure. The result will be a series of PowerPoint slides that can be used when presenting EUSTAFOR to new audiences.
This internship has given me a chance to see how the EU in general and, more specifically, how an advocating organization works from the inside. It has shown me the importance of the forestry sector for the environment, the economy and society in general and allowed me to see how the things I have read about in school are actually put into practice.
I’m grateful to have had the chance to do this internship which also allowed me to meet a lot of new and amazing people from different European countries. The past 2 weeks at the European Forestry House, where EUSTAFOR has its offices, were full of laughter and learning and they ended too quickly.
FOREST EUROPE launched a bioeconomy campaign during the European Forest Week held on 9-13 October 2017 under the theme of “Forests, our common good.” The main activities took place in Warsaw, Poland. FOREST EUROPE – Liaison Unit Bratislava – prepared a campaign “Bioeconomy and European Forest Week 2017 – a great chance to see the role of our forests in education for sustainable development.“
The target group of the campaign is the broad public, especially younger generations in schools, as they represent the future decision makers. The campaign contains a pedagogical approach as well as model activities for pupils. These educational materials explore different ways of teaching and learning about the bioeconomy. The material uses and explains the principal steps in order to provide environmental education on sustainable development and on how to raise awareness about the bioeconomy.
During the forest week, an activity booklet was launched with background information describing the bioeconomy and explaining how it relates to forestry. The material is available in three languages (English, German and Russian):
The website of the campaign provides extensive information on the bioeconomy and forests, biodiversity and consumer issues and also offers a chance to vote on the “TOP forest product in my life”: http://foresteurope.org/bioeconomy-european-forest-week-2017/
For more information: FOREST EUROPE, Liaison Unit Bratislava, http://www.foresteurope.org
The NADEG (Expert Group on the Birds and Habitats Directives) met on 7 November 2017 in Brussels, to discuss the new action plans for several threatened bird species, most notably the turtle dove, but also the revision of plans for the Prioritized Action Framework (PAF), for the Action Plan for People, Nature and the Economy, and of the guidance document or the implementation of the Habitats Directive, specially Article 6, that concerns the management of the Natura 2000 network.
The new PAF mostly emphasizes linking the concrete conservation actions to the condition of habitats. The PAF should not be seen as directly linked to individual management plans, but rather as a tool for the overview of the general management of a type of habitat. Comments provided from the floor included suggestions to include cost estimates of the actions in the PAF, in order to facilitate future negotiations with landowners and other stakeholders, and to prioritize different actions.
As to the revision of the guidance document for Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, the aim is to clarify and facilitate its implementation by, for example, including the case law of the European Court of Justice which provide interpretation of the provisions of the directive. The overall structure of the guidance document is to remain unchanged: only additions and clarifications will be made. Member State (MS) representatives largely welcomed this revision, although they asked for more time to give their feedback due to the necessity of performing proper consultations with relevant national authorities. Several MS pointed out that the case laws of the European Court are sometimes more confusing than the original text.
The Commission asked for MS and stakeholder feedback, as the Commission would discuss this topic at a meeting on 4 December. The proposed revisions will be sent in parallel to the Committee of the Regions, who will also be able to provide their comments before the end of November. The Commission aims to deliver the new guidance document by the end of this year.
Any feedback on the updated PAF should be sent by 21 November, and no later than 30 November (in writing) on the guidance document for article 6 of the Habitats directive.
Other topics discussed included the continuing work taking place in several Member states to create platforms for cooperation within biogeographical regions. There are no planned meetings for forest-related biogeographical regions to be held in 2018.
There are, however, plans for setting up an EU platform to continue the work related to large carnivores.
A new Natura 2000 Viewer is accessible, including maps, where searches can be made for areas (name or area code), species, distribution of habitats/breeding grounds and so forth. The data is not controlled (anyone can add observations) but it is still a useful tool for forest management planning as well as SFMOs.
An event entitled “Sustainable Forest Management and Climate Change” was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of France and took place at the COP23 in Bonn on 7 November 2017 in the French Pavilion. EUSTAFOR was invited to present the perspective of State Forest Management Organizations and an overview of their best practices.
The Paris Agreement recalled that forests are at the heart of solutions to climate change, while being closely dependent on it. At the event, the participants discussed which management models should be preferred and which trade-offs can be identified in relation to forest management and the dual need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
Salvatore Martire spoke on behalf of EUSTAFOR in the panel of experts. His presentation focused on the role of SFM, its envisaged long-term planning in, among others, forest management plans and on the diversity of SFM practices across Europe. He stressed that SFM was needed to minimize risks and adapt forest ecosystems to changing climatic conditions through, inter alia, the selection of the most suitable species and varieties as well as appropriate adjustment of forestry operations. Dr. Martire also recalled the cost-effectiveness of forest management as a mitigation tool. Its actions provide a triple carbon benefit: forest growth (which impacts on the sink), carbon storage in wood products (stock), and the possibility to substitute for non-renewable materials and energy. The presentation was supported by examples of the best practices of EUSTAFOR members and stressed the need for more policy coherence, especially at EU level.
Session moderator Catherine Rivoal, French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry, highlighted that agriculture and forestry are priority areas for the Paris Agreement. Julie Marsaud, France Nature Environnment (FNE), stressed points of complexity as regards forestry while at the same time underscoring that forest management is necessary to reach Paris Agreement targets. Laura Nikinmaa, European Forest Institute (EFI), spoke about the EIP focus group on climate change adaptation to which EUSTAFOR members are also part of. Jean-François Dhôte, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), highlighted that excessive wood in aging forests, combined with additional climate stress, exposed forests to risks. He called for wood to be used rather than safeguarded in forests, as the former would positively contribute to climate change and the reduction of risks. Benoît Leguet, Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE) emphasized addressing climate emissions rather than focusing exclusively on carbon storage. Giacomo Grassi, from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), spoke of the trade-offs between maximizing carbon stocks and uptake. He noted that responses to the trade-off question will vary depending on policy priorities and encouraged the development of a portfolio of regional strategies. Karin Simonson, Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), highlighted the context of forests in Canada, which has the third largest amount of forests globally and has seen extensive forest fires in recent years. She gave an example of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change plan which includes a specific action regarding forests, including the growth of the bioeconomy.
Overall, the event was important to bring forestry into the spotlight of the climate negotiations and advocate the synergies on mitigation and adaptation which can be obtained from sustainable forest management.
More information (French):
After the vote of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on the Directive on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (RED recast) on 23 October 2017, EUSTAFOR provided comments through a joint press release (link), recognizing the efforts made by MEPs to set up a suitable system for the verification of sustainable forest biomass sourcing (Art. 26). This was achieved by rejecting the devastating “compromise” proposed by the Rapporteur Bas Eickhout. The “risk-based” approach that was supported in the vote takes into account existing legislation and systems on sustainability of forest management. At the same time, it is important that the European Parliament reconsider some elements introduced by the ENVI Report such as references to cascade use principles and restrictions on the feedstock proposed by the European Commission for advanced biofuels.
EUSTAFOR continues to contribute to the debate, advocating the priorities for the forestry sector in relation to the upcoming votes on the RED recast. In fact, on 28 November 2017, it is expected the vote of the Industry Committee (ITRE) will incorporate the ENVI Opinion voted on the 23 October 2017 in its report. The plenary vote on the ITRE Report is expected at the beginning of 2018.
Article on intergroup Event:
The event “Forest-based bioeconomy – Benefits for climate, jobs and growth” was held on 8 November 2017 in Brussels and it was organized by the Natural Resource Institute of Finland (Luke) and the University of Eastern Finland in cooperation with the EU Offices of Helsinki and North-East Finland.
The event gathered together EU policymakers, researchers and stakeholders. It focused on the Bioeconomy Strategy, and its implications for Research and Innovation. In addition, four round table discussions were organized on key topics in relation to forest bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR’s Policy Advisor, Salvatore Martire, contributed to the ones in relation to climate change adaptation and to the multifunctionality of forests and its economic profitability. EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, Piotr Borkowski, chaired a round table on the topic of “Responsive multi-actor governance in the sustainable forest-based bioeconomy”. That round table arrived the following conclusions and questions which were subsequently reported by Piotr Borkowski to the Plenary:
• Citizens and other stakeholders at the landscape level need to be involved in the decision-making and strategical planning of the forest-based bioeconomy
• There are different overlapping interests – Social Sciences and Humanities need to address these concerns
• There is a need to see how collaborative approaches in a multi-actor forest-based bioeconomy can be created
• New generations of society need new and modern approaches and solutions
• Multidisciplinary, multi-scalar and cross-sectoral approaches are needed in order to deal with conflicts of interest
The event was an excellent opportunity to exchange views among academia, policymakers, and stakeholders. It contributed towards defining how to further advance the European forest bioeconomy and what is needed or should be expected from policy and research.
A seminar addressing Nature-based Solutions for more sustainable and resilient societies was organized on 6 November 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was hosted by MEP Benedek Jávor (HU/Greens) in partnership with the EU Presidencies – Estonia (current) and Bulgaria and Austria (upcoming), the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) as well as the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN)
The main objective of the event was to highlight opportunities for innovating with nature, using cost-effective and flexible solutions (nature–based solutions – NBS) and for developing new partnerships for action in Europe. NBS, which are one of the EU policy topics, are designed to bring more nature and natural features and processes to cities, landscapes and seascapes. These innovative solutions also support economic growth, create jobs and enhance our well-being.
Main topics discussed:
Today, about three quarters of Europe’s population live in cities, making it important to include cities and city-dwellers in discussions about nature and Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) because the health and well-being of all citizens needs to be increased, just like the overall consumption of energy needs to be reduced in order to reduce global temperatures. Properly implemented nature-based solutions are a significant part of this. NBS need to be applied and treated like any other investment: we need to recognize their limits and they cannot be seen as a solution to all the problems our society faces.
Issues raised by speakers and audience:
There is a need for indicators to analyze NBS; how much do different NBS contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals? This would help in setting priorities.
The cost of NBS must be compared to what traditional solutions to the same problem would cost. NBS are not always the most expensive alternative! However, to put an economic value on nature, and therefore ecosystem services such as air quality is, as always, difficult. Solving this issue would make it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs to consider NBS as an alternative.
When these types of topics are discussed, there is always a recurring theme which is relevant to NBS: How can we reach outside the bubble of already interested parties?
Policy-wise, it is important to involve the local community from the start, so that EU money doesn’t need to be spent solving problems created by the EU, as this is neither cost efficient, nor good for the local economy.
What do the discussions about NBS mean for SFMOs?
As primary producers of sustainable materials and as forest managers, what can SFMOs add to this discussion? Building more green is a good thing – but wouldn’t it be even better if energy-positive office buildings were also built in wood? Harvesting is sometimes portrayed as ‘loss of nature’ but this clearly not always the case. SFMOs can, no doubt, greatly contribute to the further work on nature-based solutions, as they can supply both materials and their long experience of working close to nature.
More information about the Nature Based Solutions project can be found here.
On 7 November 2017, the European Forest Institute (EFI) held a seminar, hosted by MEP Marijana Petir (EPP, Croatia) to discuss the topic of forest bioeconomy in the EU. The event coincided with the publication of an EFI report entitled “Towards a sustainable European forest-based bioeconomy.”
Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, opened the event, emphasizing that the need to change our society into a circular bioeconomy is an ever more urgent issue in light of the climate change.
In order to achieve a circular bioeconomy, there are several problems to tackle. Esko Aho, former Finnish Prime Minister, made a comparison to the digitalization and expansion of mobile phone technology in Scandinavia in the 1990s. The combination of deregulation, promoting healthy competition as well as innovation and smart regulation – for example regarding standardization of technologies used for mobile networks – proved to be a winning concept, at least to get the sector started. Perhaps bioeconomy is the next field where this concept could be applied? Several other speakers also emphasized the need for clear and coherent policies to facilitate investment and decisions. Additionally, we need to invest in sustainability: it does not appear all by itself!
The conclusions of the EFI report were several and to some extent echoed what has already been brought up in the discussion about the bioeconomy. Policy is first and foremost a tool to create a level playing field regarding social and environmental sustainability. In order to monitor sustainability, we need indicators that are fit for purpose. It is also important not to carry on as usual, but to aim to form cross-sectoral alliances as well to explore new sustainability markets, for example for ecosystem services. In the subsequent discussion with the audience, it was clarified that the EFI did not suggest new indicators, but rather to enlarge already existing indicators to better cover the entire sectors entire value chain, including products, something that is currently not accomplished by the SFM indicators alone, for example.
Another issue addressed by several speakers was how to reach outside the bioeconomy “bubble” – the network of foresters, businesses and NGOs who are already interested in these topics. The question of how to do this remained unanswered. However, political consensus might take too long to reach and, meanwhile, businesses and other interested parties are perhaps better suited for creating and implementing new concepts and solutions.
The problem is that much of this has been heard before. In other words, the real challenge does not seem to be to know what needs to be done, but rather to figure out how to do it.
What SFMOs should consider:
One suggestion from the presentations was that fossil fuels subsidies (including associated costs) currently amount to 6 % of the GDP in the EU. This needs to cease as soon as possible. This is of course highly relevant to primary producers of renewable materials, such as SFMOs.
On a more political note, it is of vital importance for everyone in the sphere of bioeconomy to remember that the 75 % of the EU’s inhabitants who today live in cities also need to be reached – even if SFMOs primarily work in rural areas. It is vital for SFMOs to devote time and energy to promoting their work to city-dwellers, who are the main consumers of forest products.
Read more: From Science to Policy 5: Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy
A global meeting on Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World took place on 31 October and 1 November at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
EUSTAFOR participated and contributed by presenting the European forest perspective on wood mobilization, especially as regards challenges and opportunities for forestry, highlighting the need of Sustainable Forest Management for Climate Change Adaption, and the role of wood in making SFM economically viable and contributing to a low-carbon economy.
Members of the Steering Committee of the event were the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the World Bank (WB) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The meeting was enriched by an exhibition showcasing different stages of the wood value chain, from sustainable forest management to ready-made wood-based products, with cases from Finland, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania and Indonesia.
Participants discussed the societal benefits of sustainable wood value chains and the challenges related to unlocking their full potential to contribute to sustainable development. They agreed that in order to enhance local livelihoods there is a need to connect global, regional, and local value chains and to diversify forest products beyond wood to make effective use of “baskets of value chains.” Sustainable forest management was repeatedly cited as a significant component of sustainable landscape management. In FAO’s view, sustainable wood value chains and products are especially relevant to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action), and SDG15 (life on land).
An increasingly important role was given to the use of wood in long-lasting wood products, for example by using more wood in the construction sector or by fostering innovation and developing new bio-based products.
The conference was a good opportunity to learn more on global trends in relation to wood and forestry and to support FAO’s work on advocating the role of wood use and its multiple benefits for society at large.
Nevertheless, important differences emerged on the global scale, especially concerning the sustainability of wood sourcing and forest management. In this regard, European countries can provide examples of best practices as well as legislation and tools which have been put in place to ensure the sustainability of wood harvesting. For European State Forest Management Organizations it is important that certification schemes truly provide additional market benefits.
More information: http://www.fao.org/forestry/sustainable-wood/en/
On 13 October, in follow-up to recent developments with regard to the LULUCF regulation, the Environment Council agreed its negotiating position (general approach) on a regulation, establishing new accounting rules and binding commitments for member states, with the objection of Poland and Hungary and the abstention of Finland. Concerning the forest reference levels which have been at the center of the latest debates:
-the reference scenario is based on the continuation of 2000-2009 harvest practices and intensity;
–the creation of a reserve of 359 million tons of CO2 equivalent over 10 years for forest-rich Member States to compensate for debits from forest management;
–an additionnal compensation of 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent for the period 2021-2030 for Finland.
In view of the trilogue negotiation which started on 19 October 2017, EUSTAFOR and seven other organizations of the European forestry and agricultural sectors addressed their concerns regarding the proposal for a Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation through a letter addressed to trilogue negotiators.
The European Circular Economy Stakeholder platform (ECESP) has launched their new website. It is designed to present the activities of the ECESP stakeholders, and they are free to contribute to expanding its scope and enriching its content. We are looking forward to receiving your feedback and contributions. Access to the website: ECESP
The website hosts background information about the project, lists and contacts for the Coordination Group and the platform will also be a growing source of knowledge, news and events. It will also give access to a preliminary selection of 50 Good Practices submitted by stakeholders.
AEBIOM’s annual Statistical Report provides, since 2007, an in-depth overview of the bioenergy sector in the EU28 Member States. The report is a key reference on bioenergy for industry, decisionmakers, investors, academia and all bioenergy professionals. In addition to the full report, AEBIOM publishes a free download of the key findings. The chapter on biomass supply in the 2017 report includes a comment by EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, Piotr Borkowski.
To download the report, please click on the following link:http://www.aebiom.org/statistical-report-2017/statistical-report-2017-17-10-17/
The Fourth European Forest Week was held throughout Europe on 9-13 October 2017 under the theme of “Forests, our common good.” The main activities took place in Warsaw, Poland, in conjunction with Las 2017 Conference – a Joint 75th Session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industries and the FAO European Forestry Commission.
The European Forest Week has been celebrated since 2008. Every year it provides a unique opportunity to increase the forest sector’s visibility and to influence pan-European and global discussions related to forests.
In Warsaw, the representatives of countries from the UNECE region gathered to ensure that their forests are sustainably managed and used for the well-being of all. The official program included a high-level meeting chaired by the Polish Minister of Environment under the headline: “Forests, our common good – enhancing sustainable development in light of the Paris Agreement.” During the meeting ministers encouraged the use of forests and wood to support overall sustainable development.
After a week of intense discussions, countries set robust goals to enhance sustainable forest management throughout the region over the next years and adopted the Warsaw Integrated Program of Work (2018-2021).
The Warsaw Program covers over 43 % of the world’s forests, including almost 100 % of the world’s boreal forests and the vast majority of temperate ones. The program will be implemented in North America, Europe, Central Asia and the Russian Federation, which together account for 60 % of global industrial round wood production and related forest products.
The Warsaw Program covers four areas:
- Monitoring and reporting on the state of forests in the region;
- Policy tools to ensure that the sustainable management of forests in the region will contribute to international goals;
- Awareness-raising and dissemination of information on forests;
- Capacity-building and technical assistance, including through international cooperation, to countries in Eastern and South Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The Warsaw Program addresses issues such as forest landscape restoration and the Bonn Challenge, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, the contribution of forests to a green economy, forest communication strategies and national systems for forest monitoring and statistical reporting.
More information is available under this link.
The European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment (DG Environment) has set up the “Working Group on Invasive Alien Species” as a sub-group of the informal Commission expert group “Co-ordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature”. The group’s tasks shall be to:
a) assist DG Environment by providing high-level expertise in relation to the implementation of regulation on invasive alien species;
b) co-ordinate activities, exploit links between the different activities and discuss crosscutting issues;
c) facilitate the cooperation and exchange of good practices between the Commission, the Member States, other public entities and stakeholders.
The Commission is calling for applications with a view to renewing the membership of the group except for Member States’ authorities and other public entities.
Members shall be:
-individuals appointed in their personal capacity
-organisations in the broad sense of the word, including associations, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, universities and research institutes
-Member States’ authorities, at national, regional or local level
-other public entities
The duly signed applications must be sent by e-mail to the following e-mail address: ENV-IAS@ec.europa.eu by 31 October 2017 at the latest.
For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=calls.calls_for_app
The Sumforest conference “Bridging research, policy and practice for sustainable forest management” was held on 17/18 October at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona. It brought together 90 participants from 31 countries. It was the closing conference of the project.
Sumforest is an FP7 ERA-NET project with the goal to coordinate EU and national research activities in the forest area. It focuses on basic and applied research to inform policy decisions regarding multifunctional forestry and also addresses research issues spanning the whole value chain from forest management to product and service development. It is financed by the EU within the 7th Framework Programme (FP7).
The Programme of the Barcelona conference focused on three major topics:
-Risk resilient forest management – Adapting forest management regimes which incorporate risk assessment related to potential climate change impacts to inform policy decisions
-Comparative assessment of the sustainability performance of forest-based renewable and non-renewable raw material-based value chains to inform policy decisions
-Investigation, appraisal and evaluation of trade-offs related to the provision of forest ecosystem services to inform policy decisions
EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director was invited to deliver a keynote presentation on topic 1 at the session which focused on one of the main achievements of Sumforest: the successful implementation of a call for joint research proposals asking for solutions to three of the most pressing challenges in the forest sector: Resilience, Trade-offs and Competitiveness.
For all three issues outstanding scientific experts and main stakeholders from industry or policy gave their views on the problem followed by presentations of the research projects that were selected to tackle the specific challenges.
The conference also discussed possible follow ups of the Sumforest project and informed about some projects that have gone past theoretical considerations and are implemented in the Mediterranean area.
The Conference programme and all presentations are available under this link.
Metsähallitus, the Finnish State Forest Enterprise, joins forces with stakeholders in natural resource planning to find innovative and sustainable ways of using state land and water areas. Natural resource planning is now also being launched in Ostrobothnia. The planning method to be used, which is unique by the standards of European forestry administrations, will involve a broad range of stakeholders and draw on creative collaborative techniques.
The aim of Metsähallitus’ natural resource planning is to reconcile different needs and preferences for using state-owned land and waters in Ostrobothnia. New possibilities for using these areas innovatively and sustainably will also be sought as part of the planning exercise. One quarter of the land and water areas of Ostrobothnia is under the administration of Metsähallitus. In addition to multiple-use commercial forests, the area covered by the plan also includes significant conservation sites and tourism destinations, for example in Syöte and Oulanka National Parks, and wide stretches of sea.
The natural resource planning project will be coordinated by a Metsähallitus steering group chaired by Johanna Leinonen, Development Manager at Metsähallitus. A project group chaired by Tuulikki Halla, Project Manager at Metsähallitus, will oversee the progress of the planning process.
The plans will be drafted together with a cooperation group consisting of 28 members who represent associations, educational and research organisations, companies and official bodies. The cooperation group will be chaired by Jukka Tikkanen, Research Director at the University of Eastern Finland.
Metsähallitus and the cooperation group will meet three times during the autumn and winter. Creative collaborative techniques will be used at one-day future workshops. The workshops will be facilitated by Paula Siitonen, PhD who, among other things, teaches creative cooperation methods and skills at Aalto University.
Metsähallitus will also meet other stakeholders and participate in different events. An online survey will be offered to the general public in late 2017.
The end result of the planning process, the Natural Resource Plan for Ostrobothnia, will be completed in spring 2018. It will guide the sustainable use of state land and waters in the regions of Central and North Ostrobothnia for the following five-year period from 2018 to 2023.
Natural resource planning is an important tool for Metsähallitus as an State enterprise administrating state-owned land and water areas. These areas respond to a number of different needs, including conservation, forestry, recreational use, nature tourism, real estate development and soil resource business. Through natural resource planning carried out in cooperation with stakeholders, these needs can be reconciled sustainably.
Metsähallitus has engaged in and developed natural resource planning since 1997. The planning method to be used, which is unique by the standards of European forestry administrations, will involve a broad range of stakeholders and draw on creative collaborative techniques.
Additional information: Project Manager Tuulikki Halla, Metsähallitus, tuulikki.halla(at)metsa.fi, tel. +358 40 595 8943 Development Manager Johanna Leinonen, Chair of the natural resource planning steering group, Metsähallitus, johanna.leinonen(at)metsa.fi, tel. +358 40 730 9114
Read more about natural resource planning in Ostrobothnia (http://www.metsa.fi/web/en/natural-resource-planning-for-ostrobothnia) Cooperation group members (http://www.metsa.fi/web/en/working-groups) Follow natural resource planning in Ostrobothnia on the Project Manager’s Twitter, with some English posts included: @HallaTuuli
Preliminary results of a study titled “Economic Impacts of potential EU forest carbon sink policies on the forest based sector” were presented on September 6th at a workshop in Brussels. The results show that if countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) would limit their future harvests to comply with the EU forest carbon sink policies, the EEA ‘s roundwood harvest could decrease considerably.
According to the study, “if the EEA countries limited their future roundwood harvests to comply with the assumed levels, harvests would be almost 120 million m3 or 20 % lower in 2030,” compared to the scenario without the assumed limitations. To compensate, a share of the roundwood sourcing would be relocated outside the EU, especially in Southern and Northern America. That would also lead to reducing forest carbon sinks in those areas.
Although the European forest industry would compensate part of this by increasing wood imports from outside the EEA, the proposed policies would reduce the production of sawn timber and plywood. This would affect employment, especially in the mechanical forest industry and forestry. Thus, the harvest limitations will jeopardize the desired shift towards production of “carbon-storing” wood products, Dr. Maarit Kallio from Luke summarized.
In other words, a large part of the forest industry production growth potential in the EEA will relocate outside Europe, if harvests are constrained. According to the study, this would also lead wood being less competitive towards steel and concrete, as the global prices of forest products would increase. Consequently, according to Dr. Kallio, the environmental integrity is at risk.
The preliminary results of the study were published just prior to the vote by the European Parliament on LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) on 13 September.
This article is based on the summary and presentation material of the analysis study which can be downloaded at www.tapio.fi/EUcarbon
I believe in the sustainable growth potential of the forest-based sector in modernizing the European economy. We also have to change the way we produce and consume things. This means that we must be more efficient in our use of resources, said Jyrki Katainen, the Vice-President of the European Commission at the “Wood U Believe in Growth” event. The event was organized by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation on 6 September 2017 in Brussels.
The event was organized on the occasion of the Plenary vote on the LULUCF report at the European Parliament on 13 September 2017 (link). Vice-President Katainen also referred to the issue of carbon sinks policy, namely the carbon accounting from the LULUCF sector, which was lively discussed over recent months.
Forest is a major carbon sink in the EU, and the Paris agreement identifies this sink as critical to reach its long term climate objectives. Commission’s submission of a regulation on land use and forestry (LULUCF) (link) included a proposal how to include the forest and land use sector to our climate targets, while securing the environmental integrity.
As explained by Artur Runge Metzger, Director in DG Energy and one of the panelists, even though Commission did not intend to propose any limits on the use of forests in the future, it caused concerns in the forest rich countries. He was challenged in the panel by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, who pointed out that many member states clearly see the proposal meaning major limits on forestry.
Global megatrends support the use of renewable resources instead of fossil raw materials, the chairman of the Finnish Forest Industries Jussi Pesonen said. Population growth, urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity among others offer forest sector many opportunities for future growth for example in wood construction and biochemicals.
Exhibition on new wood-based products in the Parliament
In the first week of September there were also many other forest events in Brussels. The Finnish Uusipuu (New wood) initiative launched an exhibition in the European Parliament, which presented diverse innovation examples of how forest sector supports the bioeconomy and thus may support mitigation of the climate change.
The exhibition presented over 50 wood-based applications from hygiene and medical products to textiles, displayed by 20 different companies. The aim of this exhibition was to demonstrate how wide variety of solutions forest-based sector offers to everyday challenges.
European Commission´s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen opened the exhibition saying, that these “innovations show that wood has its role to play in the circular bioeconomy and in the overall modernisation of the European economy.” According to Mr. Katainen, the circular economy is the next global megatrend, which will also strengthen the bioeconomy and boost demand for wood-based products. “I hope, that these innovations bring people to think about the use of forests, how renewable it is and not destructive.”
Textiles from wood-based fibers were presented in the exhibition at the European Parliament. Photo: Thierry Dauwe
Joint press release, 13 September 2017
The European organisations representing the forestry and agriculture sectors as well as woodworking and paper industries see the reaction of the European Parliament within the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation as a positive step. The Parliament voted today in favour of more dynamic forest reference levels to account for emissions and removals from sustainably managed forests.
EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa and Cogeca, CEPI and CEI-Bois recognise that the Parliament calls for flexible and forward-looking rules when establishing forest reference levels. However, further work is needed to ensure that the full potential of sustainably managed forests and wood-based products in mitigating climate change is fully accounted for as the final formulation of the regulation will be agreed in trilogues.
It is crucial for the European Union to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire forest-based value chain.
“The voting result encourages Member States to continue using their growing forest resources sustainably in order to decarbonise the European economy. However, there still remains quite some room to further improve the LULUCF regulation,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR. “Actively and sustainably managed European forests are essential to allow the European Union to play a leading role in combining environmental integrity with societal needs and economic development.”
“This is a step in the right direction for a policy that puts the EU on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It enables continued investments into the forest sector and sustainable forest management – the best long-term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure multiple benefits from our forests,” says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said, “Today’s vote upheld sustainable forest management practices and recognised the billions of investments made in rural areas. Sustainable harvest practices go hand in hand with the multifunctional role of forests. This brings excellent results for the climate, society and the economy. It makes no sense to outsource the provision of sustainable raw materials for our bioeconomy in non-EU countries. Diseases and forest fires are equally disastrous and Member States should be given the opportunity to manage the forests in a way that also addresses these important challenges. Future discussions with the Council must ensure that every country, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to continue managing their forests in a transparent and science-based manner with a long-term strategy, without fear of being penalized or infringing on the rights of private owners.”
“This vote has put investment in Europe’s forests back at the forefront of the LULUCF regulation. This is a win-win for Europe’s climate strategy and the 1.8 million people working in the forest-based bioeconomy chain,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.
For further information, please contact:
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Senior Policy Advisor Evangelos Koumentakos – Evangelos.Koumentakos@copa-cogeca.eu
Press Officer Amanda Cheesley – Amanda.email@example.com
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI):
Press & Digital Communications Manager Ben Alexander Kennard – firstname.lastname@example.org
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois):
Secretary General Patrizio Antonicoli – email@example.com
Sustainability and Economic Affairs Manager Isabelle Brose – firstname.lastname@example.org
Survey on Perceptions of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and of Forest Certification
ECE and FAO are currently conducting a short survey to gather some information on perceptions of sustainable forest management and forest certification. The survey is behind the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/forest-management-and-certification.
The deadline for the submission of the survey is Friday, 28 July 2017.
Outcomes of the survey will be presented and discussed during the International Conference Marianske Lazne +70, 5-7 September 2017 in Czech Republic.
UNECE and FAO Forestry and Timber Section
EUSTAFOR, CEI-Bois, CEPF, CEPI and Copa and Cogeca joint press release – 11.7.2017
The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament today adopted the draft report of the Committee’s Rapporteur, MEP Norbert Lins, on the regulation of Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The policy is of utmost importance for the forest and agricultural sectors as it defines the climate benefits of forest management and the use of wood.
A key element of the regulation is how to account for emissions and removals from forests. As a part of the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the European Commission proposed new EU LULUCF accounting rules for forests using a “Forest Reference Level” based on past (1990-2009) management practices and intensity.
Today, the ENVI Committee decided to continue this approach by voting in favor of a compromise to compare forest management intensity in 2020-2030 to the historical period of 2000-2012.
The approach of comparing future forest use to historical management intensity has been heavily criticized by the forest and agricultural sectors. The latter point to the fact that, in order to take advantage of the full potential of long-term benefits from sustainably managed forests and harvested wood products as regards climate change mitigation and adaptation, Forest Reference Levels must take into consideration the most recent data on forest resources and relevant policies. While the efforts made by the EP Committee are to be acknowledged, substantial work is still needed to improve the proposal.
“We should not penalize countries that did not use the full sustainable potential of their forests in the past. Member States should be able to use their growing forests for developing a fossil-free bioeconomy and forest owners should be enabled to continue investing in sustainable forest management – the best long-term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure the climate benefits of forests,” says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
“Forest resources are growing in Europe and we should promote the use of sustainably-sourced wood from European forests to reach the climate and energy targets and to develop a sustainable bioeconomy. In fact, the EU Forest Strategy calls for management, growth and the use of forests, and this goes far beyond just considering them as a carbon stock,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.
“A dynamic Forest Reference Level is essential for ensuring investments are made where it matters most: in sustainable forest management. Let’s keep Europe’s forests on a pro-growth trajectory that both maintains Europe’s forest carbon sink and unleashes the true potential of its bioeconomy,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.
“Use of wood from sustainably managed forests is THE key to concretely tackle climate change. European regulators must have the ambition to set a coherent and lively Forest Reference Level to maintain the forests carbon sink and ensure proper material availability that will allow the society to fully benefit from the carbon storage offered by Harvested Wood Products,” says Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General of CEI-Bois.
“We seriously regret the vote in the Environment Committee,” underlines the Chair of the Copa & Cogeca Environment Working Party, Liisa Pietola. “It is a loss for the rural community’s growth and jobs and the climate. Countries are suffering more and more from extreme weather events and forest fires, and this will penalise them further. We are the only sectors that remove emissions from the atmosphere. The opinion of the Agriculture Committee was completely ignored.”
The umbrella organizations of the forest and agricultural sectors in Brussels urge all MEPs to look at the big picture concerning the climate change mitigation and adaptation of forestry. In the transition period from a fossil-based society, all outlets of forestry are needed and benefits should be examined in the long term.
EUSTAFOR, Copa and Cogeca, CEPF, CEPI and CEI-Bois remain confident that the upcoming discussions in the European Parliament and Council will have a positive impact on the further development of the proposal.
For further information, please contact:
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF):
Secretary General, Emma Berglund – email@example.com
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Senior Policy Advisor, Evangelos Koumentakos
Press Officer, Amanda Cheesley – Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI):
Director General, Sylvain Lhôte – email@example.com
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois):
Secretary General, Patrizio Antonicoli – firstname.lastname@example.org
EUSTAFOR, CEPF and Copa and Cogeca joint press release – 3.7.2017
The recent catastrophic forest fires in Portugal and Spain show the importance of forest fire management in Europe. Forest owners and managers across the continent need to be supported in their efforts to ensure the effective implementation of preventative actions against forest fires.
“The value of forest management in the prevention of forest fires must be better recognized. Having no management is not a solution if we want to effectively combat forest fires,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), whose members are often involved not only in forest fire prevention but also in firefighting on the ground.
Forest fires are a major problem, especially in southern European countries. Climate conditions and changes in land use have made southern Europe’s forests increasingly more vulnerable to fire. As climate change is expected to increase the likelihood of fires, the risk of forest fires is predicted to increase if no major actions are undertaken.
“Forest fires are one of the biggest challenges faced by forest owners and managers today. If we look at Portugal, for example, most forests belong to many very small-scale family owners who do not have the necessary resources to take preventive actions,” says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF).
“In addition to causing human and economic losses, forest fires result in the release of huge stores of carbon into the atmosphere. Through its policies, the EU should support establishing efficient forest fire monitoring systems and incentivize forest owners and managers to implement preventive measures which will decrease the risk of forest fires,” states Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca.
Based on the European Forest Fire Information System, the annual burned area in southern European countries has reached almost 3000 km² during the last decade. This is bigger than the size of Luxembourg.
Tending forests reduces risk
The rural exodus observed in some parts of Europe correlates with an increased risk of forest fires. The abandonment of forestry activities and changes in land use has resulted in the increased accumulation of small-sized dry wood in forests, making them more vulnerable to fire.
Today, it is evident that the role of sustainable forest management is of increasing importance for preventing forest fires. Establishing inventories of high-risk areas, developing forest infrastructure and timely performed forest tending practices are only a few, among many examples, of the ways in which forest managers and owners can provide much needed and precious know-how.
Timely thinning operations strengthen the resistance of forest stands against fires and other damage while providing wood for energy or industrial processing. However, in many parts of Europe, insufficient market demand for small-sized assortments is an obstacle to performing these tending operations. Forest owners and managers therefore encourage European policy makers, who are currently debating on the EU climate and bio-energy policies after 2020, to promote additional market demand for low quality wood for bioenergy in order to support forest tending and thereby decrease the vulnerability of forests to forest fires.
As key stakeholders in the European forestry and forest-based sector, EUSTAFOR, CEPF and Copa and Cogeca strongly support further actions by the EU and Member States to further develop forest fire monitoring and prevention measures. Ways to strengthen collaboration and experience sharing in the pan-European region – not only in the field of fire prevention but also for other natural hazards – should be further explored through FOREST EUROPE, UNECE/FAO and with other international partners.
Forest management is needed to reduce the risk of forest fires. Pine forest in Sardinia.
For further information, please contact:
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR):
Policy Advisor – Salvatore Martire: email@example.com
Communications Director – Juha Mäkinen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF):
Policy Advisor – Franz Thoma: email@example.com
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Director – Oana Neagu: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Officer – Amanda Cheesley: email@example.com
High expectations, combined with new opportunities, were reflected during the State Forest Conference in Romania on 13-14 June 2017. Various challenges and demands based on the role of state foresters in climate change mitigation, the development of the bioeconomy and the provision of ecosystem services were highlighted during the conference. State forest managers are ready to take up the challenge.
Public ownership creates high expectations and higher scrutiny from the public, said Claudia Olazábal, Head of Unit for Land Use and Management from the European Commission (DG Environment). Public forests are expected to provide ever-increasing services and improvements to their operations. And this is expected to be done with continuously lower support and increasing pressure to be self-sustained.
According to Ms. Olazábal, the share of European funds under the Rural Development Funds allocated to forest measures are quite low and this is, regrettably, coupled with a low uptake of such measures. Different voluntary programs and also EU funding could be utilized to a larger extent in state forests. An example at hand was the use of funding from the LIFE program for the visitor center of the Piatra Crailui National Park.
Ms. Olazábal also envisioned new ways of cooperation. Public forests could and should serve as role models and extend their influence beyond the traditional forest sector.
State forestry offers solutions
State forest managers are ready to answer to these challenges, EUSTAFOR´s President Per-Olof Wedin underlined. By using forests in a smart way, state forest managers help to save the planet. We have a special task to bring our expertise and solutions to European and national decision makers, said Mr. Wedin.
We manage forests to improve our quality of life, stressed Director General Ciprian Pahonţu from the Romanian state forest organization, Romsilva, host of the conference.
Mr. Pahonţu introduced Romsilva, indicating that Romania is one of the noteworthy forestry countries in the EU, with significant resources of up to 6,7 million ha of forests, of which half belong to the state. As a result of advanced forest management practices, Romsilva’s forests supply almost 10 million m3 of timber per year. It significantly contributes to the development of the national economy and employment, in particular in rural areas.
Romsilva also manages the majority of Romania´s national parks, of which Piatra Craiului National Park with its exceptional natural landscape features was visited during the conference excursion.
Openness, communication and new concepts
Along with some of the other speakers, Professor Bogdan Popa from the Transilvania University of Brașov, brought up the need to emphasize the openness of forestry to other sectors. His presentation focused on ecosystem services provided by forests to the society at large. Professor Popa argued for better integration of ecosystem services with decision and policy making. It should be done by developing systems which would allow the service provider to be compensated with an additional source of income.
Professor Popa also moderated the workshop on bioeconomy. As the concept of “bioeconomy” is not always very clear, the role of two-way communications was raised during the discussions. State forest managers need to concentrate on how to boost innovation for a sustainable bioeconomy as well as on how their story should be told to a larger audience.
Mr. Viorel Blujdea, Researcher at the Transilvania University of Brașov, brought up various possibilities for maximizing carbon stocks in forests, including longer production cycles and the conversion of coppices to high forests. Afforestation, fertilization, being better prepared for natural disturbances and the smart use of forest products – including the use of long-life wooden products for building – were also mentioned.
In the workshop that followed, the active role of state forest organizations was again brought up. State forest managers are, and must be, in the frontline when implementing climate-friendly forest management practices. Foresters not only need to find solutions for mitigation, they need to adapt forest ecosystems to a changing climate. Foresters also have to be proactive in working with other sectors.
Next year Sardinia
The 2017 State Forests Conference was held in Poiana Brașov in the stunning Carpathian forest region and was organized by Romsilva. Altogether, the conference was attended by 73 participants from throughout Europe.
In 2018, the State Forest Conference will be held in Sardinia, Italy. It will be organized by ANARF (Associazione Nazionale delle Attivitá Regionali Forestali), with a special perspective on forests and landscapes in a Mediterranean context.
More information at this link.
Europe’s forest owners and managers are deeply concerned over the content of a draft European Parliament report on the European Commissions’ proposal on forest biomass sustainability criteria, a part of the Recast of the Renewable Energy Directive.
Parliaments’ Environment Committee and MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) are leading the discussions on sustainability and the draft report was published on 8 June.
Europe’s forest owners and managers argue that if Mr Eickhout had actually taken the time to discuss it with those concerned and those who actually implement sustainable forest management on the ground every day, he might have reached a more credible proposal.
The report disregards the role of bioenergy in meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets and hits Europe’s millions of forest owners and the forest-based sector, with negative consequences for the socio-economic development of rural areas, climate change mitigation and energy security.
“We have repeatedly stressed the fact that sustainable forest management is well-covered and ensured by existing national and international legislation and frameworks. We were already concerned over the impact of the Commission proposal, but at least it acknowledged the existing national legislation. Proposals envisaged in Mr Eickhout’s report would endanger any supply of sustainable EU-grown biomass for the bioenergy sector, which today gets 95% of its biomass from EU forests. And this biomass is supplied, among others, by millions of mainly small-scale forest owners who need a diversified income from their forests”, says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
“Mr. Eickhout’s report ignores reality and puts the entire forest sector at risk. He proposes an arbitrarily established list of forest biomass types that would be considered sustainable, and introduces implementation of the cascade use principle via this Directive. These suggestions show a fundamental lack of understanding of the forest production cycle characterised by an interdependent and integrated use of all parts of the tree for many end uses. In forestry, it is the market which ensures that the high-quality timber is used for production of high-value added products by the advanced wood-based industries, whereas the residues, by-products and low quality assortments supply bioenergy production”, says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.
“With the United States leaving the Paris Agreement and in the post-truth era we seem to be living in, it is more important than ever that the EU remains a climate leader and stands up for sound policy-making based on facts. Mr Eickhout’s report is a clear example of ambition gone wrong and lacks any link to reality on the ground. We should not restrict the uses of forest biomass, instead we should support an economically viable development of a sustainable bioeconomy. Bioenergy plays an important role here, both for reaching climate targets and for supporting a sustainable forest sector,” Copa and Cogeca Secretary General Pekka Pesonen added.
By restricting the use of forest biomass for energy, the economic viability of sustainable forest management will be seriously undermined and the necessary investments in the quality of forest ecosystems through thinning operations will be significantly reduced. These operations are necessary to improve forest health and vitality and to support the production of high-value timber that can be used for building houses, for example. In some cases, bioenergy demand for low quality wood can even make it economically viable to manage forests that otherwise will be at risk of wild fires, climate change and pests.
We repeat our invitation to Mr Eickhout to discuss the practical consequences of the legislation from the point of view of forest owners and managers.
For further information, please contact:
CEPF Policy Advisor Meri Siljama: firstname.lastname@example.org
EUSTAFOR Policy Advisor Salvatore Martire: email@example.com
Copa and Cogeca Director Oana Neagu: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copa and Cogeca Press Officer Amanda Cheesley: email@example.com
The EU Bioeconomy Strategy is under review this year. “As forests and related industries have always been an important part of the bioeconomy, we cannot even imagine what new innovations and products such as bioplastics can bring,” said Waldemar Kütt, Head of Unit in DG Research of the European Commission.
Mr. Kütt presented perspectives on the bioeconomy in Brussels at the meeting “Forest-based Bioeconomy and EU´s Bioeconomy Strategy.” The meeting was hosted by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, on 1 June 2017, and organized by the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.”
Mr. Kütt also pointed out the importance of wood construction for bioeconomy, as healthy living, climate benefits and safety issues all speak for wood construction.
The Bioeconomy Strategy review has been marked by the Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015 and the conclusions of the Environmental Council last summer. Meanwhile, numerous EU member states have also finalized their national bioeconomy strategies or are in the process of doing so.
The EU Council’s conclusions on the Bioeconomy Strategy are expected next winter or spring, as is the final decision on the revision/update of the strategy. The strategy review will be highlighted in a separate bioeconomy conference in Brussels on 16 November 2017.
State forests boost the bioeconomy
At the same meeting, Ciarán Fallon, Director of Stewardship, Risk and Communications at Coillte, Ireland, spoke on the important role of state forests in the bioeconomy. “State forests are forerunners in sustainable forest management, providing a stable and sustainable source of raw materials for the bioeconomy and delivering a large set of other ecosystem services.” State forests provide about 30 % of the total timber harvested in the EU. Forest resources are continuously growing because state forest organizations harvest only some 2/3 of the annual increment.
“The advanced bioeconomy will involve deep learning, research and innovation. State forests are a predictable partner and EUSTAFOR’s members are large enough to engage meaningfully in research. We are also always ready to share our expertise with decision makers and stakeholders in working towards a new policy landscape framed by sustainable development goals, the bio- and circular economies as well as the climate and energy policy objectives,” said Mr. Fallon.
Forest owners, managers and administrators have insisted that they must be included in decision-making at all levels of the implementation process in order to ensure that the goals of the EU Nature Directives will be reached. This message was emphasized when the “Action Plan for nature, people and the economy,” recently adopted by the European Commission, was presented at a conference which took place on 6 June, in Brussels, and was co-hosted by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Maltese Presidency.
According to the conclusions of the Fitness Check process, which preceded the Action Plan, there is still room to improve on the implementation of the Nature Directives. In order to foster better implementation and acceptance of Natura 2000 management plans, the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) strongly advocates a bottom-up approach, pushing for partnerships with and the involvement of forest owners, managers and other stakeholder communities who are the ones ultimately responsible for delivering results on the ground.
“The management of State forest lands is multifunctional,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR. “State forest managers have to balance different social, ecological and economic aspects in their daily operations. The best results can be achieved when the profound expertise and experience of state forest managers, as well as the potential of state forestry, are already better recognized during the decision-making process.”
As a result of decades of experience in sustainable forest management, state forests have contributed to Natura 2000 from the very start. “The more forest managers are involved in the strategic planning phase, the more efficiently Natura 2000 objectives will be integrated into their daily operations. This will make the Natura 2000 network an even greater success than it already is,” says Mr. Borkowski.
Very often, conservation measures require special approaches or exceptional silvicultural techniques. EUSTAFOR strongly advocates a sound EU financing instrument to compensate extra costs incurred or income foregone as a result of the implementation of Natura 2000 measures. Such a system should support the provision of environmental services independently of the type of ownership.
EUSTAFOR’s members manage 30 % of the EU’s forests and are highly committed to sustainable forest management. State forests satisfy the needs of European society by providing a multitude of goods and ecosystem services, including biodiversity. Out of 49 million hectares of managed land, more than 8 million hectares are protected by national nature conservation laws and another almost 8 million hectares have been designated as Natura 2000 sites.
For more information please contact:
Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director
firstname.lastname@example.org +32 (0)2 239 23 04
Juha Mäkinen, Communication Director
email@example.com +358 40 570 9307
The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) represents state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The Association currently has 33 members in 22 European countries. EUSTAFOR members manage around one third of the EU forest area. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 130 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals.
Photo: State forest organisations are forerunners in ecological restoration. A drained bog five years after restoration in Nurmes, Eastern Finland.
The Supervisory Board of Slovenski državni gozdovi d.o.o. (SiDG d.o.o.) appointed a new management company at its 12th regular session, which took place on 10 May 2017. After a selection process on the basis of a public tender, the members of the Supervisory Board selected Mr. Zlatko Ficko as Director General and Mr. Dejan Kaisersberger as Financial Director and Controller. Both directors have been appointed for a term of five years, starting on 1 May 2017.
Mr. Ficko is closely related to forests and forestry, both privately as well as professionally. He attended secondary forestry school in Postojna and continued his studies at the Department of Forestry at the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana. Mr. Ficko has been active in the forest sector since he started his career as a trainee in 1978. He first worked at Snežnik, then continued his career in the Slovenian Forestry Service. From July 2016 to May 2017, Mr. Ficko worked as one of three top managers of the new state forest company.
Mr. Ficko has mainly held professional and managerial responsibilities throughout his career. He was, among others, the leader of the forestry planning sector, leader of dedicated state hunting reserves and he also worked in marketing.
After the political decision was taken that Slovenia would abolish the forestry concession system in state forests and begin to manage state forests directly through its own state forest company, Mr. Ficko actively participated in writing the new law on the management of forests owned by the Republic of Slovenia. This new law was the legal basis for the establishment of the company SiDG.
As one of three legal representatives of the new SiDG company, Mr. Ficko worked as the Commissioning Manager for forestry and timber, combining professional and managerial responsibilities. At the same time, Mr. Ficko was responsible for organizational, technical and human resources, in order to ensure the smooth commencement of operations in the new state forest company. Mr. Ficko played a leading role in establishing SiDG’s annual forest management plan and in preparing the draft of the long-term strategy for the field of forestry and timber industry.
Mr. Ficko supports the sustainable development of Slovenian forests and related long-term development objectives in the broader social context.
Mr. Ficko was born on 8 July 1956. He is married, the father of two adult children and lives in Kočevska Reka near Kočevje.
SiDG is managing cca. 230.000 ha of forests. It has 163 employees and harvests cca. 1 mio. – 1,2 mio. of timber annually.
Links related to Slovenian forestry:
- Slovenian state forests: http://www.sidg.si/
- Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food: http://www.mko.gov.si/en/
- Slovenia forest service: http://www.zgs.gov.si/eng/slovenian-forests/forests-in-slovenia/forestation-and-variety-of-forests/index.html
- Slovenian Forestry Institute: http://www.gozdis.si/index.php?id=19
The project that carried out a field survey of cultural heritage sites in multiple-use forests owned by the state in 2010-2015 was awarded a Special Mention by the Europa Nostra jury. Special Mentions are given to outstanding contributions to the conservation and enhancement of Europe’s cultural heritage. This recognition was presented to Metsähallitus at the European Heritage Congress, a major cultural heritage event, in Turku on 15 May.
Metsähallitus’ survey of cultural heritage sites in state-owned forests received the Special Mention in the Research category. In its justifications, the Europa Nostra jury noted that this exceptionally large-scale and comprehensive survey both engaged various stakeholders and groups and helped to bridge culture and nature in Finland.
– We are really happy about this award. The project was exceptional by both Finnish and European standards, not only because of its size but also because the time frame of the survey extended almost up to modern times, says Hanna Kelola-Mäkeläinen, who served as a cultural heritage specialist in the project.
The cultural heritage survey documented and protected over 10,000 cultural heritage sites in state-owned multiple-use forests, including over 100,000 individual structures. The survey covered a time period of almost 10,000 years – from traces left by Finland’s earliest settlers to farmsteads that were deserted as a result of urbanisation in the 1950s and 60s.
– The cultural heritage of multiple-use forests is now very well known. The survey also secured the preservation of younger cultural heritage mainly dating back to the 1900s in state-owned forests, explains Sustainable Development Manager Antti Otsamo from Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.
The survey collected a wealth of open data that enables the use of cultural heritage sites both for tourism development and teaching and research. The survey reports are publicly accessible on Metsähallitus’ website, and the images have been saved to the Kantapuu.fi service of the Finnish Forest Museum Lusto. A free eBook was also produced on the survey, which provides more detailed information on the project outcomes and contains suggestions for excursions in the multiple-use forests.
In total, the project inventoried almost four million hectares of forests in commercial use, poorly productive forest lands and waste lands. The total costs of the survey amounted to some EUR four million, and the funding was provided by Metsähallitus’ forestry unit (today Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd).
Europa Nostra, an organisation established in 1963 to foster European cultural heritage, operates in over 50 countries. The organisation has presented the joint cultural heritage awards of the European Union and Europa Nostra since 2002. This year, the jury gave a Special Mention to 13 projects from 11 European Member States. While Metsähallitus’ cultural heritage survey project was the only Finnish candidate to receive a Special Mention, a Europa Nostra award was presented to the Paavo Nurmi Legacy project.
Cultural Heritage in Multiple-use Forests: http://www.metsa.fi/web/en/cultural-heritage-in-multiple-use-forests
Europa Nostra Special Mention 2017: https://www.europanostra.org/2017-eu-prize-cultural-heritage-europa-nostra-awards-special-mentions/
Communications Officer Hanna Kelola-Mäkeläinen, tel. +358 40 180 4592, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable Development Manager Antti Otsamo, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd., tel. +358 40 719 7734, email@example.com
Juha Mäkinen has been appointed as Communication Director of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) starting 10 April 2017 for a period of three years.
Mr. Mäkinen currently works as Communication Director at the Finnish State Forest Enterprise, Metsähallitus. He has also chaired the EUSTAFOR Communicators Network since 2014.
For more information please contact:
Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director
firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 (0)2 239 23 04
Juha Mäkinen, Communication Director
email@example.com, +358 40 570 9307
The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) represents state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The Association currently has 33 members in 22 European countries. EUSTAFOR members manage around one third of the EU forest area. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 130 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals. Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available knowledge and professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.
The role of EUSTAFOR Associate provides an excellent opportunity to gain a first-hand overview on all forest-related policies at an international and, in particular, at an EU level. An Associate will work on previously agreed and self-directed subjects, closely cooperating with EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director. This will provide the Associate an excellent opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge on various EU policy topics, gather valuable experience and knowledge about EU and international forest-related stakeholders and the collaboration which exists between them. Furthermore, the Associate will be able to enlarge his/her knowledge about the functioning of state forest management organizations and their diversity in different countries throughout Europe (associate-role-description-2016).
As you will see in this issue, we have been experiencing an exceptionally busy season in Brussels, with many concerns for forests arising from discussions around bioeconomy, bioenergy and climate change. Debates center around the trade-offs of using more wood in order to strengthen the forestry sector within a sustainable bioeconomy with the need for sustainably managing and protecting forest ecosystems. The Executive Committee has held discussions on key EU policy developments on the sustainability of biomass in the context of a future bioenergy policy (link) and the role of the LULUCF sector in the climate change policy post-2020 (link). EUSTAFOR’s members can expect to be consulted soon for their input and the head office continues to exchange views with other Brussels-based stakeholders in order to provide comprehensive input into the decision-making process.
EUSTAFOR has also been busy with continued participation in many other events and actions such as releasing a joint statement at the FOREST EUROPE process in Bratislava, participating in a preparatory EU Rural Development meeting in Ireland (in advance of a new Cork 2.0 Declaration) and attending a PEFC Policy Conference here in Brussels. In addition, Executive Director visits were made to several EUSTAFOR members –Ireland, Norway and Slovenia.
Meanwhile, our association continues to grow. Slovenski državni gozdovi from Slovenia will become EUSTAFOR’s 31st member as of 2017. Our office staff in Brussels is pleased to welcome Salvatore Martire as its new Policy and Communications Advisor. Pentti Hyttinen, newly appointed CEO of Metsähallitus, has joined the Executive Committee, replacing Esa Härmälä for the rest of his term. The internal Working Group on Climate Change has been re-launched under the chairmanship of Alexander Horst (ÖBf) and it is expected that the joint work of this WG and EUSTAFOR members will be crucial to positively affecting the development of policy proposals.
EUSTAFOR has increased its social presence via its new LinkedIn page. We continue to gain followers on our Twitter account which, in addition to the EUSTAFOR website, is constantly being updated. Readers are invited to follow, promote and interact with our association as much as possible. Members are also invited to consult the events page of the website in order to stay up-to-date on upcoming meetings and activities.
We hope you will enjoy this edition of the eustafor.express. Please feel free to forward it within your organization!
New Internal Working Group on Climate Change
At its meeting on 21 June 2016, the ExCom decided to re-establish the internal WG on forests and climate change. EUSTAFOR member organizations need to be duly informed about the potential consequences of any Commission decisions on the role of forests and their management in the context of the EU post-2020 climate change policy. Does the Commission consider forests to be merely a static carbon sink or can management practices be used in an active way to sequestrate and substitute for fossil energy sources? How can LULUCF carbon accounting rules be made more transparent? Why is the use of biomass equated with the destruction of forests? In these and further aspects, it is important to clarify that forestry and forest management are part of the solution (and not part of the problem).
ExCom adopted a Terms of Reference (ToR) for the WG and nominated Mr. Alexander Horst (ÖBf/Austria) as the WG Chair and EUSTAFOR members have been invited by the Executive Office to nominate their experts to the WG
Workshop on Forest Fires
Due to climate change, the problem of forests fires no longer remains a Mediterranean problem but concerns more and more European countries. Even if some countries still rarely have forest fires, when they do, they are severe. Several topics could be of interest to EUSTAFOR members, such as the creation of fire-fighting structures, water reservoirs and vehicle access roads, or forest habitats post-fire, etc. Therefore, ONF suggested organizing a workshop to enable best practice exchanges in the areas of prevention, surveillance and eradication of forest fires as a consequence of climate change. The workshop could be organized either within the EUSTAFOR network or with a broader participation, e.g. within the framework of FOREST EUROPE and with participation of forest services from other concerned countries, e.g. Canada.
EUSTAFOR members will be duly informed about next steps.
EU forest owners and managers today welcome the World Forest Week and underline the key role forests play in tackling climate change and achieving sustainable development goals
CEPF, COPA and COGECA, ELO, EUSTAFOR and USSE today welcomed the World Forest Week and the opportunity to discuss how to unlock the full potential of forests in tackling climate change and meeting commitments made under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year marks the 5th World Forest Week and the 23rd Session of the Committee on Forestry. A series of events and meetings, sponsored by FAO and its partner organisations, will take place over the week of 18-22 July, focusing on how forests and sustainable forest management can contribute to the milestone climate and sustainable development agreements of 2015.
Speaking in Brussels, Copa and Cogeca Secretary General Pekka Pesonen stressed: “Forests have a very important multifunctional role and sustainable forest management is key. They have a huge potential to sustainably tackle the societal challenges – from ’’producing more with less’’ to the ’’ low carbon economy’’ and it is important to have the right strategies in place to unlock their potential”.
Thierry de l’Escaille, Secretary General of ELO, said: “Forests are the lungs of Europe, transforming CO2 into oxygen, maintaining biodiversity whilst producing wood, cork and other non-wood products. They provide renewable resources and ensure clean water and air alongside other ecosystem services. Furthermore, they offer a place for recreation and leisure for European citizens”. These are public goods that should be properly valued.
Leire Salaberria, Executive President of USSE, stressed: “We need to better promote the importance of forests in terms of boosting growth and jobs in EU rural areas and contributing to the bioeconomy to ensure a sustainable future for rural areas and the people living there”.
Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR, underlined that “the Paris Agreement sets out a plan to effectively decarbonize economies by mid-century. SFM, in connection with the widespread use of wood and wood-based products, can offer a means to counteract climate change and to enable the transition towards low-carbon bio-based societies and economies. Sustainable forestry and forest products can help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, diversify the energy supply and ensure the prosperity of people living in rural areas by boosting green growth and jobs.
CEPF Secretary General Emma Berglund said: “The importance of forests for reaching the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the connection to many, if not all, of the SDGs clearly show the holistic nature of what we do. The prerequisites to enhancing the role of forests and maximising their potential are investment, knowledge transfer and innovation, development of new value chains, processes and products. Strong cooperation at global level is needed”.
The 5th World Forest Week once more provides a great opportunity to show the commitment of European forest owners and managers to contribute to a sustainable and productive forestry sector that is able to respond to future challenges and to ever-increasing demands from society.
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca)
Thierry de l’Escaille
European Landowners’ Organization (ELO)
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)
Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE)
For further information, please contact:
From 2007 to 2013, the forest-based sector saw a 100 % increase in EU funding, totaling almost EUR 600 million. In 2015, the initial phase of the EU Research Program Horizon 2020, more than EUR 125 million was rewarded the sector for research and innovation projects. All in all, FTP’s efforts over the past ten years has resulted in EUR 1 billion in EU funding for research and innovation projects. This upward trend is evidence of existing confidence that the sector is capable of delivering the sustainable bio-based products and services that will serve as the foundation on which to build a fossil-free society.
FTP launched a new prioritization process to improve funding opportunities in the final years of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation framework program.
In spring 2016, National Support Groups, representatives of FTP shareholders, research umbrella organizations and observers were consulted at the FTP Advisory Committee meeting on the best timing and procedure to discuss and collect input with their national stakeholders. The goal is to identify top priorities within the research and innovation areas described in the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda for 2020, still to be addressed in the last phase of Horizon 2020.
Up until May 2016, FTP invited forest-based sector stakeholders to submit their views and opinions about the research and innovation areas that should be given higher priority during the final years of Horizon 2020. Nearly 500 organizations, representing the woodworking industries, the pulp and paper sector and forest owners from 15 countries, participated in the consultation. FTP selected 90 crucial research activities from among more than 170 listed within the sector’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for 2020. This broad, inclusive and transparent consultation is fundamental to outlining research priorities for the forest-based sector and will enable FTP to enhance its advocacy work and elaborate a sharp approach with policy makers while they prepare the Work Program 2018-2020 of Horizon 2020.
The final outcome will be presented at the next FTP Board meeting in September 2016.
“Climate change: the moment for forests and the forest sector” was the headline of the seminar organized by the Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE) on 25 May 2016 in San Sebastian, Spain.
The meeting focused on the review of the EU policy framework for climate and energy post-2020 and the role of forests, which was presented by María Gafo Gómez-Zamalloa (European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development). Pieter Johannes Verkerk (European Forest Institute, EFI) presented the results of recent research on how European forests can contribute to the mitigation of climate change. The problem of the adaptation of forest ecosystems to changing climatic conditions was given considerable attention. Michele Bozzano (EUFORGEN) presented current approaches to the conservation of forest genetic resources in Europe whereas the issue of the adaptation of forest species in the context of climate change was elaborated by Alejandro Cantero (HAZI) based on the results of the REINFFORCE Project. Ander Arias González (NEIKER) presented the experiences of the Basque Country (Spain) as regards the role of forest soils in the overall context of climate change.
Challenges caused by the changing climate are not only of a technical or environmental nature. They also influence the society at large. The ongoing debate on climate change therefore also provides opportunities to raise awareness among the society about the role of forests and their multiple benefits for social well-being. Luisa Cabello, a journalist and an expert in communication, explained methods which can be used to reach public opinion and build overall understanding and consensus about the importance of forests and their functions.
Piotr Borkowski, EUSTOAFOR’s Executive Director, participated in the discussions and presented the views of state forests on the topic. The presentations of the seminar are available under this link.
The renewed EU Bioeconomy Panel held its kick-off meeting on 17 June 2016 in Brussels. Johan Elvnert, Managing Director of FTP, is the sole representative of the forest-based sector on the panel. Neither EUSTAFOR’s proposed candidate Dr. Lena Bruce from Sveaskog (Chair of EUSTAFOR’s internal Working Group on Bioeconomy) nor any other candidate proposed by forest stakeholders was selected by the European Commission for this panel. Mr. Elvnert should therefore be considered as a focal point on matters related to the EU Bioeconomy Panel, as EUSTAFOR is one of FTP’s shareholders.
The European Commission opted to limit the Panel to 30 members and renew its stakeholders’ representation. Ten seats have been offered to experts from national authorities of the EU Member States and EU Regions, while the remaining 20 seats are reserved for relevant stakeholder groups from different areas related to the bioeconomy. These include the industrial sector, associations and companies, the scientific community, European associations in the farming, forestry and fishery sectors, and non-governmental organizations. The list of panelists is available here.
As far as its main role and activities are concerned, the Panel will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the ‘Bioeconomy Strategy’ and will be in charge of finalizing the ‘European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Manifesto,’ by early 2017. Building blocks to develop the manifesto were drafted in the scope of a multi-stakeholder process carried out by the Dutch EU Presidency.
‘Building with Wood’ as a potential flagship action to boost the European bioeconomy was suggested by Johan Elvnert (FTP) in the discussions with the other members of the Panel.
You can read more about the EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel under this link.
In June the Forestry Commission England hosted the European State Forest Conference 2016 in the beautiful Lake District National Park in North West England. This was clearly one of the most important of EUSTAFOR’s recent events and our hosts, Forestry Commission England, are absolutely deserving of our appreciation for bringing the EUSTAFOR community together in such a fabulous English landscape, sharing their experiences, challenges and success stories in managing forests in a diversified countryside which has exceptionally high societal expectations and demands. Next year’s event will be hosted by our colleagues from ROMSILVA in Poiana Brașov, in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. Please already book your calendars for the dates of 13‑14 June 2017!
Directly preceding the SFC, an Executive Committee meeting took place at which the decision was made to launch two important position papers by early July. The first one concerned the role of forests in the EU Climate Change Post-2020 Policy and the second provided state forests’ views on the review process of the two Natura 2000 Directives.
Over the past weeks, EUSTAFOR was also involved in several other activities, including the “Beyond Wood” conference organized by the European Commission which provoked strong reactions from both the European Parliament and forest-based stakeholders. You will find further information about this event and many other topics in this month’s edition of our newsletter.
The end of June was also marked by the departure of Gerd Thomsen, EUSTAFOR’s Associate from Thüringenforst, who was part of our team for the past year. He will remain in Brussels, working at the Permanent Representation of the Free State of Thüringia to the EU. Many thanks go to Mr. Thomsen for his essential contribution to the success of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary events which took place in the European Parliament in April 2016 and for building the association’s new website. A call has been sent out to members who would be interested in sending a new Associate to our offices. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We hope you enjoy reading our summer edition. Please feel free to forward it within your organization!
We wish you a very enjoyable summer vacation!
The European Commission has undertaken a “Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives” as part of the overall Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program. The Commission already received the mandate in February 2014. The main input into the process came from a stakeholder consultation, a public consultation and a review of scientific literature and published reports that included the ‘State of Nature in the EU’ and the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. EUSTAFOR took part in both consultations and attended the high-level stakeholder conference on the Fitness Check of EU Nature Legislation in November last year.
According to the original timeline the final report from the European Commission (Staff Working Document) on the results of the Fitness Check study was planned for spring 2016 but its publication was postponed. The high-level conference “Future-proof Nature Policy – Reaching common goals,” organized by the Netherlands Presidency, was subsequently cancelled because of the delay.
Following the publication of the long-awaited Final Fitness Check Report, discussions about the Nature Directives can be expected to flare up again. It therefore appeared to be a good moment to spell out the position of state forests concerning the fitness check and possible improvements concerning the implementation of the Nature Directives. EUSTAFOR’s positon paper (XXX LINK), published on 8 July 2016, stresses the importance of forests for the Natura 2000 network and the fact that sustainably managed European state forests are well positioned to serve conservation needs in addition to other aspects of multifunctional forest management.
EUSTAFOR and its members are of the opinion that forest management and the goals of the EU Nature Directives are reconcilable. The fact that so many managed forests have been included in the Natura 2000 network and that they continue to have a high biodiversity value proves that sustainable forest management covers the conservation needs as regards forest biodiversity. European State Forest Management Organizations adhere to the principles of sustainable and multifunctional forest management and meet the objectives of the Nature Directives without neglecting economic and social values or other fundamental functions of forests. The position paper also points out that the implementation of the Nature Directives leads to extra costs. This fact needs to taken into account when programming conservation objectives and be recognized when establishing the financial objectives of SFMOs. EUSTAFOR and its members share the view that SFMOs should be eligible for EU support for environmental measures related to Natura 2000 in the same way that public land owners are compensated for the financial impacts of agricultural environmental measures.
The current Nature Directives are suitable tools to effectively preserve populations of wild species and to maintain or restore natural habitats while at the same time maintaining the economic, social and cultural functions of forests. This is why EUSTAFOR and its members do not advocate for re-opening this part of the EU legislation but strongly advise improving its implementation at both national and local levels. Implementation must be more flexible and bureaucratic burdens must be reduced to a strict minimum. Forest owners, administrators and managers must be sufficiently involved in relevant decision-making, implementation and management processes at all levels and stages.
The EU Birds and Habitats Directives are important and powerful tools to effectively preserve populations of wild species and to maintain or restore natural habitats of community interest while at the same time allowing to maintain the economic, social and cultural aspects of the forests in which they have been designated.
30 % of EU forests are managed by State Forest Management Organizations (SFMOs), which are highly committed to sustainable and multifunctional forest management. Members of EUSTAFOR satisfy the needs of European society by providing a multitude of goods and ecosystem services, including biodiversity. Out of 49 million hectares of managed land, more than 8 million hectares are protected by national nature conservation laws and another almost 8 million hectares have been designated as Natura 2000 sites.
As a policy framework, the EU Nature Directives provide a suitable level of detail when addressing the conservation requirements and measures and this part of the EU’s legislation should not be re-opened for any changes. Instead, EUSTAFOR and its members strongly advocate for an improvement in the implementation of the two Nature Directives on both national and local levels. This must be done by ensuring a proper role for forest owners and managers, among others, in designing the implementation strategies and conservation measures included in Natura 2000 management plans. Forest managers have a profound knowledge about the forests they work in. Their knowledge and experience provide a valuable basis for finding the best areas to which the Natura 2000 network can be extended, for the development of management plans and for establishing site conservation measures.
EUSTAFOR and its members also advocate a sound EU financing instrument, which enables compensation for the extra costs connected to the implementation of Natura 2000 measures and/or the income foregone due to restrictions on forest management.
As a result of decades of experience in sustainable forest management, SFMOs have been able to contribute to Natura 2000 from the very start and will continue to contribute and integrate Natura 2000 objectives into their daily operations and management planning, helping the network to become an even greater success story!
For more complete information on the “EUSTAFOR Position Paper on the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitat Directives and Their Implementation in State Forests” please click here.
|EUSTAFOR’s 30 members (state forest organizations managing state forests) represent around one third of the EU forest area. They are committed to sustainable forest management and work with the existing forest certification schemes. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 120 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals.|
1 Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.
On 21-23 June 2016, high-level representatives of European State Forest Management Organizations held their annual conference in England’s beautiful Lake District. The theme of the conference hosted by the Forestry Commission England was “Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy in England’s largest and most visited National Park.”
The Lake District National Park was the venue of the European State Forest Conference 2016.
During the actual conference, as well as during various field trips, the Forestry Commission broached the issue of how to meet the challenges of operating within the sensitive environment of a national park. The Lake District is the most visited national park in the UK and its ecosystem services are of crucial concern. Nevertheless, it is also a living landscape where forest management plays an important part in sustaining employment and stimulating economic prosperity. The management objectives are therefore manifold and can only be balanced and reached by applying a holistic and multifunctional forest management approach. This is reflected in the Forestry Commission’s mission for the Public Forest Estate, collaborating to safeguard and manage forests in order for wildlife to thrive, people to enjoy and businesses to flourish.
The conference programme gave an overview on the development of the Lake District which is not a natural but a cultural and changing landscape that is aspiring to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How forests can be developed as tourist destinations of choice and the challenges and obstacles private forestry faces in protected forests was highlighted.
During a 2 ½ field trip program woodland management with conservation in mind, the national Forest Art Works program, adventure forest, continuous cover forestry system in water retention area and the Lake District Osprey Project were discussed.
Extensive grazing by Galloway cattle provides biodiversity benefits and promotes tree regeneration in woodlands by breaking up vegetation mats.
On 21-23 June 2016, high-level representatives of European State Forest Management Organizations held their annual conference in England’s beautiful Lake District. The theme of the conference hosted by the Forestry Commission was “Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy in England’s largest and most visited National Park.”
During the actual conference, as well as during various field trips, the Forestry Commission broached the issue of how to meet the challenges of operating within the sensitive environment of a National Park. The Lake District is the most visited national park in the UK and its ecosystem services are of crucial concern. Nevertheless, it is also a living landscape where forest management plays an important part in sustaining employment and stimulating economic prosperity. The management objectives are therefore manifold and can only be balanced and reached by applying a holistic and multifunctional forest management approach. This is reflected in the Forestry Commission’s mission for the Public Forest Estate, collaborating to safeguard and manage forests in order for wildlife to thrive, people to enjoy and businesses to flourish.
The first field trip of the conference was to Whitbarrow Scar, southwest of Kendal, where woodland management with conservation in mind was discussed. Non-native conifer stands on the Carboniferous limestone ridge were converted to open grassland biotopes and a mosaic of woodland patches of native hardwood species. With the help of extensive grazing, a self-induced succession by scrub species is prevented and the quality of open land biotopes is improved. Particularly suitable for this task are Galloways, a sturdy cattle breed that can resist the harsh conditions in the region and allow for year-round grazing.
During the following boat trip on Lake Windermere, Mr. Duncan Peak (CEO, Holker Group) talked about the challenges for modern business operations in and around the Lake District National Park. The economy and rural development face problems that arise due to the demographical development, restrictions and the overlapping responsibility of different authorities.
What do forests have to do with art? A lot, in the Grizedale Forest! It is the UK’s first forest for sculpture. Since 1977, leading international artists have created sculptures in Grizedale Forest which makes it very popular as a tourist destination. Hayley Skipper, Arts Development Curator for the Forestry Commission, presented the national Forest Art Works program. But not only art attracts visitors to Grizedale Forest. The Forestry Commission’s strategy is to combine different attractions to ensure an optimal use of the existing tourist infrastructure. Another part of the forest enterprise’s management model is “Adventure Forest.” Tristram Meyhew (Director, Go Ape) talked about how best to integrate adventure activities in forests. Afterwards, theory was turned into practice: The participants experienced some thrilling adventure activities, choosing between zip lines, Segways and electric biking. The first day ended with a champagne celebration of EUSTAOR’s 10-year anniversary.
Sir Martin Holdgate (former Director General, IUCN) gave the first presentation of the second day of the conference, showing beautiful pictures of “The Lake District – a changing landscape.” He corrected the assumption that the English Lake District is a natural wilderness. He gave an overview of the development of the area since the last ice age and explained how the landscape has been influenced by man for at least 6000 years. Approximately 700 years ago, woodland cover had been reduced to close to 15% of the landscape. The Lake District truly has a long history of changing land use. In spite of this – or perhaps even thanks to this – it has remained a beautiful cultural landscape, giving inspiration to literature and the global conservation movement, and now aspiring to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When on holiday, who would expect a meal that’s less tasty than what they can have at home? Who would want to sleep in a bed less comfortable than their own? These provoking questions were asked by James Berresford (Former Chief Executive of Visit England) in his presentation “World Class – the new norm.” After highlighting the importance of the tourism industry, which has significant growth potential, he pointed out that this industry is in a period of dramatic change due to new customer expectations. Tourists expect the places they visit to exceed their expectations, be unique and allow them to send exceptional “selfies” to their friends back home. Forests can therefore be destinations of choice! To learn more on how this can be achieved, see Mr. Berresford’s presentation.
The challenges and obstacles private forestry faces in protected forests were presented by Stuart Goodall (CEO, Confor). He would like the right balance to be found between environmental and economic interests, warning that the rural industry is facing a shortfall in the supply of wood, especially softwood which is no longer considered desirable in national parks. Mr. Goodall pointed out that non-conifer woodlands are, in most cases, not economically viable and emphasized that, by applying modern standards of management, softwood forestry can create profits while at the same time ensuring habitats, recreation and livelihoods are maintained/created.
The morning conference ended with the announcement by Adrian Oprea (ROMSILVA) that next year’s European State Forest Conference will be hosted by the Romanian National Forest Administration in Poiana Brasov on 13 – 14 June 2017. (Please already save the date!)
During the afternoon, the management of Douglas fir under a continuous cover forestry system was presented and discussed on a field trip to Dodd Wood (North Cumbria) where some spectacular trees could be seen. Chris Watson, Works Supervisor, explained that water retention is of major importance on the steep slopes above the Bassenthwait Lake and that continuous cover forestry has proven to be more successful than clear cuts for meeting water retention objectives. The participants also stopped at the Lake District Osprey Project viewpoint, where Nathan Fox, Recreation Ranger, showed where ospreys can be seen nesting and fishing in the lake.
On Friday the Forestry Commission organized a field trip to Ennerdale Valley which lies on the northwestern edge of the Lake District National Park and is home to some of England’s most vibrant natural environments. A walk through the valley showcased the Wild Ennerdale Project, an ecological restoration partnership between the main landowners – the Forestry Commission, National Trust and United Utilities – which aims to convert the valley to a more natural landscape. Walking along the River Liza, the only river in England that flows in a natural riverbed from its source until it joins Ennerdale Water, participants were shown the successes of the project: The non-native conifer forest has been changed and native broadleaves are extending and increasing through planting and natural regeneration. Beneficial for the regeneration is the extensive grazing by Galloway cattle that, contrary to sheep, disturb the ground, creating favorable germination conditions for trees. A destructive Phytophthora fungus infected many larch trees in the valley, so forest protection issues in remote areas were also discussed.
Please visit the EUSTAFOR Intranet to find all presentations, speeches, pictures and other information about the conference.
Our thanks go to the entire team of the Forestry Commission for organizing this great event!
Forests and sustainable forest management (SFM) continue to be firmly on the international climate change agenda. At the COP 21 conference, 195 countries agreed on the first universal and legally‑binding global climate deal. The ambitious agreement aims to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Article 5 of the Paris Agreement strongly recognizes the role of forests and SFM in mitigating climate change.
EUSTAFOR and its members are firmly convinced that forests, forestry and forest‑based products not only have a great potential to contribute but are also an essential part of the global solution to climate change mitigation. It is of utmost importance that sustainable and multifunctional forest management is recognized by EU policies as an important part of the global solution for climate change mitigation. Future policy design, targets and implementation details must allow European forests and the forestry sector to realize their full potential. EUSTAFOR supports the full integration of forests, forestry and forest-based products in the 2030 climate policy framework as long as the latter is designed in a way which takes into account the special features of forests and their management, thus allowing the sector to realize its fullest potential to mitigate climate change.
There are significant differences between the Member States in terms of forest cover and natural conditions for forest management, as well as in the climate change mitigation potential of their forests. The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) shares the opinion that, whichever policy choice is made by the EU, it should take full account of the diversity of special features of forests and forest products as well as the diversified approaches to SFM across the EU. If successfully implemented, SFM, in connection with widespread use of timber products, can offer a means to counteract climate change and to make the transition towards low-carbon bio-based societies and economies.
EUSTAFOR believes that the services provided by forest owners and managers for climate change mitigation must be properly recognized and valued. EUSTAFOR supports a model that creates multiple avenues for the downward distribution of investment rewards.
EUSTAFOR is committed to contributing to the further development of the EU-wide LULUCF policy, including accounting rules for removals and emissions, and the development of a consistent and harmonized LULUCF reporting format.
EUSTAFOR acknowledges the importance of the general public’s support for sustainably managed forests and is committed to developing communications aimed at increasing public understanding of the role of forests in meeting the challenge of climate change.
For more complete information on the “EUSTAFOR Position Paper on the Role of Forests and Forest Products in the Post-2020 EU Climate Change Policy Framework: How can European state forests contribute to post-2020 EU climate policy targets?” please click here.
|EUSTAFOR’s 30 members (state forest organizations managing state forests) represent around one third of the EU forest area. They are committed to sustainable forest management and work with the existing forest certification schemes. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 120 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals.|
1 Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.
June 23rd, 2016, became a historical date. It will find its way into the history books as the day when the citizens of the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. The referendum took place during this year’s European State Forest Conference hosted by the Forestry Commission England. Although not a topic on the agenda, the ‘Brexit’ was of course one of the liveliest topics of conversation discussed in the corridors. Among many general aspects, one question stood out: What could be the impact of the Brexit on European forest-related policies?
One week before the referendum, Georg Winkel and Jakob Derks (European Forest Institute, EFI) published an essay entitled “Forest Policy and Economics” which examines the role and importance of the UK in EU forest and environmental policy making and the future impact of a Brexit for both UK and EU forest and environmental policies.
Interested in the results? The essay can be downloaded here.
On 23 May 2016 the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENVI) of the European Commission organized a conference in Brussels to focus on the multiple services – other than wood – provided by Europe’s forests. The all-day event was attended by 190 participants including EUSTAFOR and member State Forest Management Organizations (SFMO). The growing pressure on forests caused by the rising demand for wood and biomass for the bioeconomy and energy generation, the growing threat by climate change and the need to find the right balance between the multiple services forests offer to the economy, our environment and society were main drivers of the conference and were well reflected in the program. Multifunctional sustainable forest management (SFM) was praised as a key concept for finding the right balance between these needs and expectations. This had particular meaning for the SFMOs who practice SFM in their daily management. But the question remains: Do we do have the same understanding of SFM?
The morning session was chaired by Daniel Calleja Crespo (Director-General of DG ENVI) who pointed out in his opening statement, that the concept of ‘bioeconomy’ is not an invention of modern times. Throughout most of its history, Europe has been a wood-based economy. Even when wood was, for a while, a less important commodity, forests continued to play a key role for humanity. Today, as noted by Mr. Crespo, SFM is making “a real comeback” and is claiming its place in the bioeconomy. Although wood remains a great material and a precious resource, Mr. Crespo reminded participants that the conference would focus on forest ecosystem services beyond wood, on the the importance and potential of forest ecosystems for the general society and the economy.
Jyrki Katainen (Vice-President of the European Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness) gave an overview in his opening speech about the multiple benefits that forests provide, from traditional wood products to ecosystem services. He had to admit that it is “rather difficult to find negative aspects related to forests” but pointed out that it is a challenge for policy makers to figure out how to value the benefits provided by forest ecosystem services in real terms. He gave some concrete examples of forest ecosystem services and highlighted that the Commission is working to better understand the opportunities they present and is seeking ways to better assess their value. Forest Europe estimated the value of non-wood forest products to be at least EUR 2.3 billion in 2010. Mr. Katainen also raised the issue of new wood-based products. The European economy must become sustainable and circular, and the forest industry is providing a positive example. Research and innovation is essential for decarbonizing Europe’s economy and substituting energy intensive materials and fuels with renewable raw materials. Bio-refining is a key technology that can be expected to grow rapidly. Mr. Katainen concluded by pointing out that SFM is the solution for providing both ecosystem services and forest based products and that “economic viability is of crucial importance for maintaining the multiple benefits that forests provide to society, and rural populations.” Because of the complex nature of the issues, Mr. Katainen warned against black‑and‑white thinking when dealing with the multiple benefits that forests provide.
Whereas Mr. Katainen had reflected in a balanced way on the importance of forests for the bioeconomy and for ecosystem services, Karmenu Vella (European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) stated that forest owners and managers only seek to maximize profits and lack knowledge of and interest in other aspects of multifunctional forestry. He went so far as to question if there is even a common understanding of SFM and whether SFM is actually practiced in European forests. He further questioned whether Europe is credible when encouraging the rest of the world to manage their forests sustainably.
Mr. Vella’s highly controversial speech provoked reactions from both the European Parliament and a group of 6 private and public forest owners (see article below in this edition of the eustafor.express or read more here).
MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (NL) referred in his keynote speech to the initiative “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) that analyzes the values provided by biodiversity and ecosystems in economic terms. He referred to some specific assessments which say that CO2 emission reductions could be worth 3.7 trillion dollars annually by halving the current global levels of deforestation. Economic scientists also arrived at a macroeconomic figure regarding biodiversity that Mr. Gerbrandy shared at the conference: The loss of global biodiversity is costing Europeans citizens 3 % of GDP annually, which is double the growth of GDP in the EU at present. In his opinion, that figure should have a strong impact on EU economic policies, especially since the main objective of the current EU Commission is to create jobs and economic growth.
Regarding forests, MEP Gerbrandy sees a change of focus from forest policy which has been mainly dominated by timber production towards a policy more reflective of environmental concerns. Nowadays forests are relevant for many different EU topics such as climate policy, bioeconomy, the quality of water and air, and rural development. A strong necessity for an EU-wide coordination of forest policy has been widely acknowledged. While he understands the political attitude of the Member States who emphasize the subsidiarity principle because they don’t wish to relinquish control over the political decisions concerning their forests, he also sees the need for developing a clear EU competence concerning forests because of their overarching societal importance at European level. Just as an EU-wide environmental policy has been developed, Mr. Gerbrandy called for adopting the same EU-wide approach to forests. He mentioned good examples of SFM in the EU that counter negative stories such as the one concerning the planned logging in the Polish Białowieża Forest where he hopes that the Commission will intervene.
Mr. Gerbrandy ended his speech with a strong appeal not to “make forest policy part of the mutual distrust that is currently the dominant factor in many EU policies!” and called for first agreeing on the principal of European sustainability criteria for forests.
The opening session of the conference was followed by three thematic sessions, each consisting of three presentations followed by rounds of questions from the participants. The presentations can be downloaded here. The conference ended with a final panel debate that discussed the questions: “What are our key challenges and opportunities? Where should we go? What will it take to get us there, and who needs to take action?” The whole conference was recorded on video and can be seen in 6 different languages.
In follow-up to this year’s SFC, you can find all presentations, speeches, pictures and other information about the conference on the Intranet. More will follow as it becomes available. The conference was hosted on 21-23 June by the Forestry Commission in England’s beautiful Lake District, a perfect location to talk about “Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy.” Our thanks go to the entire team of the Forestry Commission for organizing this great event!
So far as we know: 30 % of the forest area in the EU is state-owned, 60 % is privately-owned and 10 % is owned by municipalities or local communities. But what does the forest ownership structure look like in detail, how and why is it changing and what are the conclusions and recommendations for forest-related policies, forest management practice, further education and future research? Does the growing number of “new” forest owners who own only small parcels, have no agricultural or forestry knowledge and often no capacities or interest to manage their forests, mean new management approaches are required? How will Europe’s changing ownership structure affect the forestry sector? These are some of the questions that have been the focus of the “Forest Land Ownership Changes in Europe: Significance for Management and Policy” Action (COST Action FP1201 FACESMAP).
EUSTAFOR was invited to the Stakeholder Workshop “Changing Forest Ownership – European Policy Implications” in the beginning of June to discuss the preliminary results from the FACESMAP Action. The COST Action has identified the following main trends for ownership in 30 European countries:
- Institutional changes in Eastern European countries with restitution and privatization of forests
- Privatization of public forest management (introduction of private forms of management, e.g. state-owned companies)
- Investment funds increasingly active in forestry
- New community forestry for income or conservation purposes
- Afforestation of agricultural land, and change in lifestyle, motivations and attitudes of owners towards their forests
Although the COST Action wants to analyze all kinds of ownership changes their special interest lies in non-state forms of ownership. Nevertheless, some primary outcomes also concern state forest ownership and State Forest Management Organizations.
The restitution of forests in central, eastern and southeast Europe is still ongoing and has caused profound changes in forest ownership structures in most countries in these areas of Europe. The share of private forest owners rose in many countries from zero to more than 40-50 % in countries such as Lithuania or Romania. The privatization of state forests has also taken place in other countries of European such as Norway, Sweden and the UK, but on a much smaller scale.
In 21 out of 28 European countries there are restrictions in relation to selling state forests. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, it is strictly forbidden to sell state forest land whereas in Croatia publicly owned forests cannot be sold but they can be rented out under long-term leases.
Besides the “traditional” public and private forest ownership types, some more intermediary types were identified. One type was called “third sector ownership.” Social, environmental or other non-profit organizations increasingly acquire forests for special management objectives, often in the public interest. Another new type of ownership, at least in Europe, is investment funds which purchase forest land for intensive management and then market shares of these forest funds to private investors.
When it comes to the motives and behavior of forest owners there is an increasing diversity. In the past, the “typical” private forest owner was mainly rural-based, was often a farmer and active in his forest, which was usually located close to his residence and used to produce an income or at least provide his own fire wood. The “new” forest owner type is much more diverse with very different motivations and goals. To own a forest is sometimes part of a life style. More and more forest owners live in urban areas and appreciate the immaterial values of their forest. This may explain why income and subsidies ranked pretty low among the objectives of private forest owners in the assessments.
Some State Forest Management Organizations are charged with providing advisory services for private and/or municipal forest owners, making it important for them to be able to understand the motivations and objectives of a very diverse group of non-state forest owners with needs which can differ from their own.
A problem concerning forest ownership that was made apparent during the workshop were the different definitions and methodologies used to explain forest owner types. For example, municipal or church forests are considered to be private forests in some countries, but public in others. It is especially difficult to find the right translation for some historical private and common forest ownership types when these exist only in certain countries.
The Final Conference of the COST Action FACESMAP will take place on 7-9 September 2016 in Vienna. More information about the outcome of the Action can be found in the Country Reports and at the FACESMAP website.
EMPHASIS (Effective Management of Pests and Harmful Alien Species: Integrated Solutions) is carrying out a survey on the management of threats to plant health to understand and investigate further the current needs of end users in terms of their key pest threats, solutions applied and shortcomings of available technologies throughout the EU. One target group of the survey is professional organisations in the forestry sector. The survey will remain open until the end of July and is available in 5 languages (English, Français, Deutsch, Español, Italiano).
EMPHASIS is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. It aims to fight threats from native and alien insect pests, pathogens and weeds that also damage natural ecosystem services by developing integrated mechanisms of response measures to predict, prevent and protect agriculture and forestry systems. In June it organized a stakeholder workshop to foster investment in integrated pest management strategies. EUSTAFOR took part in the workshop as the only organization from the forestry sector.
In 2015, in its Energy Union strategy, the Commission announced that it would come forward with an updated bioenergy sustainability policy, as part of a renewable energy package for the period after 2020.
The new EU bioenergy policy post-2020, including the sustainability of biomass from forests, is one of the most important current policy developments relevant to forests and forestry in the EU. The Commission is working on a new bioenergy policy as a part of the Energy Union. A Public consultation was due until 10 May 2016 to gather views from stakeholders. EUSTAFOR provided its contribution to this public consultation.
Representatives of the European Commission (DG ENER) clearly state that biofuels will play a significant role in the future bioenergy policy and the major gap to cover is the lack of sustainability criteria for solid biomass for bioenergy (the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids have already been covered by the current Renewable Energy Directive).
Following the Report of the Ad-hoc Working Group of the Standing Forestry Committee on Sustainable Forest Management Criteria & Indicators, in which a risk-based approach was mentioned as a possible way forward to provide an assurance of the sustainability of forest biomass, DG AGRI set up an informal expert group (EG) to further develop a risk-based approach as a possible solution for the sustainability issue of solid biomass.
The meeting of the EG took place on 27 April 2016 and was attended by representatives of international and non-governmental organizations in the forestry and energy sector including, among others, certification schemes (FSC and PEFC), the paper industry, private forest owners, European biomass associations, energy holdings, NGO’s and EUSTAFOR. Mr Damian Zielinski from Lasy Panstwowe (Poland) represented EUSTAFOR at this meeting based on an invitation by DG AGRI. The memo from the meeting is available on EUSTAFOR’s Intranet under this link.
As part of the preparation for this policy initiative, the Commission held a stakeholder meeting on 12 May 2016 to discuss relevant aspects of biomass sustainability with stakeholders. The agenda and presentations delivered at this meeting are available under this link.
Currently the Commission is working on the Impact Assessment and its Communication to the Council and the European Parliament with a legislative proposal expected by the end of 2016.
In the context of the Commission’s ongoing work on this portfolio, Politico published a Special Report addressing the role of renewables in the EU bioenergy policy. Chapter 3: “Trees are green, but burning them isn’t” discusses the use of biomass from forests in bioenergy generation and challenges the carbon neutrality of woody biomass. Read the Report under this link.
The meeting of the Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) on Forestry and Cork took place on 9 June 2016 in Brussels. CDG Chair Bernard Budil presented two important documents to the participants, which they subsequently approved. The documents were:
- A Resolution: Strengthen the role of forests in the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework
- An Opinion: The role of forests in the strategic approaches to EU agricultural research and innovation
Having been formally adopted by the group, both documents will be transferred to the relevant Commission services.
The CDG also exchanged views on the Bioenergy Sustainability Policy, the review of the Bioeconomy Strategy and the results from the Eurobarometer campaign.
Information points included the European Commission’s conclusions on the Final Report on the implementation of EU Timber Regulation, on the follow-up of the EU Forest Strategy and the Multiannual Implementation Plan (MAP), two research studies on “The optimised cascading use of wood” (DG CROWTH) and on the “Carbon impacts of biomass consumed in the EU: quantitative assessment” (DG ENER) as well as on the list of Invasive Alien Species, recently revised by the European Commission.
All documents and presentations relevant for this meeting are available on EUSTAFOR’s Intranet under this link.
CDG is a consultative and advisory body to the Commission’s DG Agriculture and Rural Development. It is composed of stakeholders from the private sector and broader society. EUSTAFOR holds two seats in the CDG and is represented by Mr. Martin Lindell (Sveaskog) and Mr. Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director.
The “1-tonne bench” made off 1 m³ solid oak wood, received from its Latvian member LVM on the occasion of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary, has found a new home.
After being displayed for 10 weeks in the core of the European District of Brussels as part of the “Forest City Project”, it has now been relocated to the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Urban Planning of Flanders. At the Headquarters of Natuurinvest, EUSTAFOR’s Flemish member, it is apparently receiving a lot of interest and appreciation by visitors.
The Flemish Minister of environment Joke Schauvliege (right) and the CEO of the Forestry administration Marleen Evenepoel sitting on one tonne of CO2
As a reaction to the speech of Commissioner Karmenu Vella at the conference “Beyond Wood: The multiple services provided by Europe’s forests,” the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) signed a joint letter from six organizations representing private and public forest owners and managers which reacts against the Commissioner’s depiction of forest owners and managers as only seeking to maximize profits and lacking knowledge of and interest in other aspects of multifunctional forestry.
Mr. Vella, European Commissioner in charge of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, spoke at a conference which he hosted jointly with Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. The conference took place on Monday, 23 May 2016, in Brussels. In his speech, Mr. Vella drew a picture of European forests that was mainly based on the “State of Nature in the EU” report published in 2015 by the European Environment Agency and according to which Europe is continuously losing forest habitats and biodiversity whereas forest owners and managers are focusing mainly on maximizing their profits. Commissioner Vella neglected the fact that multiple benefits provided by European forest owners and managers to society at large can only be derived from multifunctional and sustainably managed forests and that balancing the economic alongside the social and environmental dimensions of forests is of key importance. The signatories of the joint letter stressed that active management of forests has a more crucial role than ever to play in contributing to the EU’s objectives of ensuring sustainable development, maintaining and creating jobs and growth in the EU and decarbonizing the economy.
EUSTAFOR does not share Mr. Vella’s gloomy depiction of the status of European forests. There is much evidence produced by other sources, such as the “State of Europe’s Forests 2015” report, that provide a very different picture, one which is more consistent with the everyday experience and assessments of European state forest managers. According to these sources, Europe’s forest area is growing, the quality of Europe’s forests is improving and they contain more mixed stands, protected forests and deadwood. In addition, over 90 % of Europe’s forest area is covered by semi-natural or undisturbed forests.
Mr. Vella’s speech was also criticized by ten Members of the European Parliament, led by MEP Elisabeth Köstinger. In their joint letter, they described Mr. Vella’s assumptions as “beyond reality” and invited him to support a more holistic approach to European forest policy.
European State Forest Management Organizations (SFMOs) practice sustainable and multifunctional forest management and wholly support the pan-European definition and principles of sustainable forest management developed by FOREST EUROPE. SFMOs have committed themselves to the objectives and guiding principles of the EU Forest Strategy!
Postscript: Mr. Vella responded to the joint letter on 12 July 2016 (link).
The Czech Liaison Office for Research, Development and Innovation (CZELO) organized a seminar addressing “Future of the Forest – Czech contribution to challenges for European Research and Policies,” on 2 June 2016 in Brussels.
The aim was to discuss with forest-based sector stakeholders and representatives from different EU institutions and academia the challenges related to setting up future management objectives. Short- and long-term strategies for enhancing ecosystem resistance and resilience vis-à-vis climatic and environmental shifts, assisting forest ecosystems to adapt to variations in climate caused both naturally and by anthropogenic factors were also discussed. The role of research in advancing sustainable management practices, developing more resilient and resource-efficient value chains and integrating pest management strategies to counteract emerging diseases was reviewed in the context of opportunities provided by the Horizon 2020 program.
Piotr Borkowski (EUSTAFOR) presented the perspective of state forests as regards the development of EU policies which are the most relevant for forests. Sustainable forest management is broadly practiced in Europe and results in significant expansion of forest resources throughout the continent. Sustainably managed forests provide a broad range of goods and services, including wood as a renewable resource for developing the EU’s bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR’s presentation is available here link.
Further information and conference documents are available at the Conference website.
The European Commission hosted a second meeting of the Expert Group on Forest-based Industries (F-BI) and Sectorally Related Issues on 20 April 2016 in Brussels. The Commission’s services discussed with representatives of the Member States and relevant stakeholders about the currently ongoing initiatives relevant for forest-based industries:
- Implementation of the Blueprint for the EU forest-based industries (part of the Multi-Annual Plan (MAP), including follow-up activities of Furniture Study (The EU Furniture Market Situation and a Possible Furniture Products Initiative, 2014), Study on Cumulative Cost Assessment of the EU F-BI, Study on the Optimal Cascade Use of Wood
- Bioenergy Sustainability Policy and the wider framework of the Energy Union
- Research and Innovation activities (Horizon2020, EIP on Raw Materials)
- Trade related issues, in particular the wood export ban imposed by Ukraine, Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU-Japan Free-trade Agreement (FTA)
- Progress in Implementation of the Regulation 995/2010/EU (EU “Timber Regulation”: “EU TR”)
- Food Contact Materials
- Energy Union – Bioenergy Sustainability Policy
- Development of National Forest Policies based on the two case studies presented by MS (FI & UK), who had been invited at the last EG meeting to present their national policies for forest-based industries.
The afternoon session focused on presentations of the CE Package, one of the main priorities of Juncker’s Commission, including the Action Plan and the legislative proposals, and the results of the Study on Optimized Cascade Use of Wood. This session was open to a larger number of stakeholders in order to attend the presentation of the results of the Study on Optimized Cascade of Wood to which they contributed.
The Expert Group on Forest-based Industries (F-BI) and Sectorally Related Issues brings together EU-level representatives of the F-BI, civil society, and national authorities. The group is chaired by the Commission and has the following tasks:
- Providing the Commission with expert advice for the development, implementation, and monitoring of EU policy and legislation affecting the sector
- Establishing cooperation between sectorial bodies, EU countries, and the Commission
- Exchanging experiences and good practices within the forest-based industries sector.
The Expert Group succeeds the former Advisory Committee on Forest-Based Industries. All documents relevant for this meeting are available under this link.
On 18 February 2016 the Commission released a report on the effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation during its first two years of implementation. The report finds that the EU is on track to achieve its objectives to combat illegal logging and associated trade in illegal timber, but challenges remain. Some positive trends are visible, namely that EU operators are gradually taking steps to ensure the legality of their suppliers and that there is more awareness of the problem of illegal logging amongst EU consumers. The Regulation has also encouraged producer countries to develop systems assessing compliance with the requirements of the legislation. However, more effort is needed from both the Member States and the private sector to ensure its effective and efficient application. Since 2014 there has been significant progress in the implementation of timber regulation across the EU. While in July 2014 there were 18 non-compliant Member States, in June 2015 the number was reduced to 4 (Greece, Hungary, Romania and Spain). The Commission launched infringement procedures against these Member States in 2015. It was also widely recognised that the Regulation adds significant value to the international efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation, conserve biodiversity and address climate change. The results of evaluation will be used to further improve the implementation and application of the Timber Regulation.
(source: European Commission)
EMPHASIS (Effective Management of Pests and Harmful Alien Species: Integrated Solutions) is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
EMPHASIS aims to develop practical solutions to protect agriculture, forestry and public green from native and introduced threats to plant health, such as insect pests, pathogens and weeds. EMPHASIS will contribute to the sustainability and competitiveness of agricultural and forestry sectors through the provision of more effective, efficient and safer integrated techniques for pest management.
The findings from this survey will contribute directly to this work. It is the first in a series of data collection tools that will be used over the course of the project.
The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to fill in. It will remain open until July 31, 2016.
This exhibit was kindly provided by the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (Germany) for the EUSTAFOR Forest Exhibition “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature”.
It was hosted by MEP Nils Torvalds and on display 5 – 7 April 2016 in the European Parliament (Brussels).
Utilizing the forest
Protecting the forest
Discover the forest
Technology for the forest
Forest for the future
The closing event on the first day was the Forest Reception which was held at the European Forestry House. Guests enjoyed, among others, a vast variety of traditional venison of different game from Poland, “exotic” birch sap from Finland and fine fruit brandies from Thüringen. The meeting room of the European Forestry House, which is located in a 200-year-old wooden building just a stone’s throw away from the European Parliament building, offered a perfect setting for the reception.
On the occasion of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary, the Brussels office launched a number of promotional campaigns to raise the awareness of various target groups about the contribution of sustainable forest management for people, climate and the nature. Thanks to its Latvian member, Latvijas Valsts Mezi, EUSTAFOR was able to allow the population of Europe’s capital to not only see but actually feel what 1 ton of CO2 looks like! A solid oak wood bench was placed right at the entrance of Square de Meeus where, for 2 months, visitors to this green oasis in the busy European Quarter will be invited to “take a seat on one tonne of CO2.” On the 1 m³ bench it is explaned that it contains 1 ton of CO2, which grows in European state forests every 0.16 seconds. The bench will remain in the park until World Environment Day on 5 June 2016.
EUSTAFOR’s General Assembly took place on 5 April 2016 in Brussels in the same week as 10-years celebrations. This year, the General Assembly adopted a new EUSTAFOR Strategy in addition to the regular administrative and financial topics which require the official approval of the General Assembly. The Strategy and the related Work Plan 2016 were developed in tandem and have taken on an entirely new format. The format was developed keeping in mind that if the objectives are to be reached they need to be clear and focused as well as supported by a practical and realistic implementation plan.
The Strategy develops a new vision and mission for EUSTAFOR, which precisely state the role of the association and position it within the forest-based sector in Brussels. As regards the content, The Strategy is formulated around 6 major topics:
A. Climate change policy post-2020, including LULUCF
B. Bio- and circular economy
C. Energy Union (renewables)
D. Rural development, economic performance and competition
E. EU biodiversity policy & Natura 2000
F. Ecosystem services
These 6 subjects were then delineated into a Strategic agenda in function of 3 aspects which define each topic’s strategic challenges, strategic objectives and success factors.
The Work Plan 2016 was designed to ensure the implementation of the Strategy. The comprehensive work plan makes it clear that there are a tremendous amount of tasks to be undertaken. The input and efforts from all of EUSTAFOR’s members will be crucial to the success of this ambitious work plan. On the other hand, experience has shown that it is EUSTAFOR’s collaborative approach which has given such strength to the association’s voice towards the EU and other forest-based sector stakeholders.
The Strategy and Work Plans are “living” documents and should be viewed as a framework on which to build. The Strategy is to be reviewed (at least) every 3 years whereas the Work Plan is reviewed annually at every General Assembly. The meeting minutes and annexes for the entire General Assembly are available on the Intranet.
On 5 April 2016 the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) organized a conference in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels to highlight the important role of European forests in reaching the objectives of relevant EU policies, such as those concerning the climate and energy package, biodiversity and Natura 2000, and the bio- and circular economies, among others. The conference under the title “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature” was the first of a series of events under the same title organized on the occasion of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary.
The three-hour conference was hosted by the Chairs of the three EP Committees which are the most relevant for the forest sector, namely: MEP Czesław Adam Siekierski (Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development), MEP Giovanni La Via (Committee on Environment, Public Health, Food Safety) and MEP Jerzy Buzek (Committee on Industry, Research and Energy). MEP Paul Brannen (Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development) co-hosted the event.
Four presentations were made, followed by a stakeholder panel discussion during which the potential of European forests to contribute to the goals set out by the EU’s 2020 strategy, the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework and the Paris Agreement (COP-21) were highlighted.
Prof. Gert-Jan Nabuurs (Wageningen University, Netherlands) delivered the keynote address about the new role for forests and the forest sector in achieving the EU post-2020 climate targets. He pointed out that European forests have an additional 9% CO2 mitigation potential if the carbon storage of forests is increased by applying so-called climate-smart forestry practices.
Prof. Tomasz Zawiła-Niedźwiecki, Deputy Director General of the Polish State Forests, explained how climate change influences daily management practices. He presented the concept of “Forest Carbon Farms” that can serve as a functional network of areas promoting forest management activities which enhance CO2 mitigation efforts.
Mr. Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director Natural Capital, European Commission (DG Environment) reflected on biodiversity and forest management. He quoted the State of Nature in the EU report (2015) according to which most forest types and forest-related species are in an unfavorable conservation status. In his opinion forest owners and managers need to be encouraged and rewarded for keeping up sustainable and multifunctional forestry.
MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri referred to the bioeconomy as an effective tool against climate change and noted that state forests play a key role in the bioeconomy. Decarbonization of the economy and the energy union are not possible without biomass. She emphasized that the EU’s bioeconomy should primarily be built on domestically-produced raw materials and called for a policy framework that attracts investments.
MEP Paul Brannen, Harald Mauser (EFI), Luc Bas (IUCN), Fanny-Pomme Langue (AEBIOM) and Pekka Pesonen (Copa-Cogeca) joined in subsequent panel discussion which was moderated by Ms. Linda Andersson from Sveaskog and which tackled the following questions: Should Europe increase the production and use of wood raw materials? How can biodiversity and other ecosystem services be maintained if, for climate reasons, forest production is increased? What would be the best solution for forestry in the EU’s post-2020 climate change policy?
All information about the conference (presentations, comprehensive summary and pictures) is available on EUSTAFOR’s website.
EUSTAFOR’s new website was officially launched at its General Assembly held on 5 April 2016. The association has modernized this essential tool which not only serves as a means of communication, but also as an archive of useful information. In this article, readers are provided with an overview of the multiple possibilities provided by the new website.
Both the the graphic design and navigation system were modernized without losing the comprehensive and valuable information contained in the old website. The website opens onto a slideshow of pictures, provided by our members, which highlight the many different aspects of forest management, such as recreation, research, education… in short, the multifunctionality of forests. The content of the homepage continues to inform about the latest forestry news, news from members, upcoming events and press releases.
True to the saying “all roads lead to Rome,” the information on our site can be found using different paths. If, for example, you are looking for information about EUSTAFOR members you can
- use the traditional menu (“About EUSTAFOR” > “Member”) or
- you can click on one of the round buttons (the map symbol) in the center of the screen or
- you can type the name of a member in the search function that opens up when you click on the magnifying glass symbol in the upper right corner.
Please make sure and visit your own organization’s page (www.eustafor.eu/about-eustafor/members)!
The traditional division between the “Public” and “Members Only” (Intranet) sections has been maintained. The Intranet offers a treasure of information and can be entered by clicking on “Member login” (upper right-hand corner). Before your first visit to the Intranet you will need to sign up as a new user by clicking on “create an account.” Please note that for security reasons only your work email address can be used, including for the confirmation email which will be sent to you with the information needed to finalize your registration. If the suffix of your member organization is not available on the drop-down list please contact us at email@example.com. After your first registration you can always change your password by clicking on the “Member login” at the top right side of the screen.
The layout of the intranet is slightly different from the public site. As in the past, the Intranet offers forestry-relevant news and news from members as well as information which is only available to our members. The screen proposes “Let’s have a look in…” which provides a drop-down list. This list allows you to filter the huge amount of documents and information available on the Intranet. You can also search for information directly by clicking on the magnifying glass symbol and typing in the key words. A list at the bottom of the screen gives an overview of the latest documents uploaded to the Intranet. On the first page of the intranet, users can also subscribe to the “eustafor.express” newsletter.
The website project was managed by EUSTAFORS Associate Gerd Thomsen with the input of EUSTAFOR’s Communicators Network. Several web experts from EUSTAFOR’s members also supported the project manager with their technical expertise throughout the entire design and building phase of the project. We would like to thank Daniela Tröger (ThüringenForst), Jan-Paul Schmidt, (Bavarian State Forest Enterprise), Ritva Vaarala (Metsähallitus) and Viktoria Kiss-Geyer (Österreichische Bundesforste) for their support!
We invite you to visit our website and the Intranet to explore more than the few new features mentioned above! Please give us feedback and help make EUSTAFOR’s new website “a living thing” and permanently improve its content by submitting relevant news about your organizations. You can do this by using the “send your own news…” function. We hope to hear from you soon!
On 6 April 2016, EUSTAFOR and its Flemish member Natuurinvest organized an excursion to the Sonian forest. More than forty participants were picked up by bus from at the European Forestry House and, within minutes, found themselves in the forest located next to the city of Brussels.
Tom Embo, Director of Natuurinvest, introduced his organization and Patrick Huvenne, Forest Manager, gave a presentation about the special features of this forest, which suffers from fragmentation. The fragmentation caused by the transportation structure is clear to visitors due to the continuous heavy traffic on the “ring” which cuts through the forest. What is less obvious is that the 4 400 ha large Sonian Forest is managed by no less than three different organizations. The forest is situated at the intersection of the Flemish, Brussels-Capital and the French-speaking Walloon Regions and even has some contiguous tracts of privately held forest belonging to the Royal Trust. But whether they call it Forêt de Soignes or Zoniënwoud, the Belgian foresters have committed themselves to working together extensively, creating a heterogeneous recreational infrastructure for the enjoyment of all. Mr. Huvenne’s presentation focused on Natura 2000, ecological defragmentation projects, forest management plans and the reorganization of the forest’s recreation plans.
During the excursion, forest management planning, including different maps, were shown and the growth and regeneration of and risks faced by Sonian beech forests were discussed. Individual trees with a circumference of bigger than 250 cm are mapped. Some of the very big beech trees originate from an enormous afforestation campaign undertaken by the Austrian landscape architect, Joachim Zinner, more than 200 years ago. Another special feature of the Sonian Forest is the existence of areas whose soil has remained undisturbed since the ice age.
Among other aspects of SFM, professional training for chainsaw operators was presented. The participants received explanations about the complex logging processes and techniques as well as how important it is for loggers to receive proper professional training. Natuurinvest participated in a project to define and maintain minimum standards in outdoor professions like forestry which can be applied in all European countries. One result of the project is the European Chainsaw Certificate (ECC) which is based on standards that were defined by the European Forestry and Environmental Skills Council (EFESC) to increase the health, safety and mobility of chainsaw operators throughout Europe (www.europeanchainsaw.eu).
Participants visited the “Groenendaal Marteloscope,” a 1 ha sample plot where thinning operations can be simulated by means of an electronic tool. The economic and ecological value of each tree is estimated. Foresters are then able to make tree selections and verify the different (virtual) economic, ecological and structural outcomes if the trees they selected were to be harvested. The marteloscope is part of a European network of demonstration sites for the integration of biodiversity conservation into forest management (field guide).
Faced with a diverse group of visitors composed of everything from expert foresters to neophyte non-foresters, the hospitality and perfect organization of EUSTAFOR’s Flanders member, Natuurinvest, was successful in providing a very lively and informative learning opportunity for all. The excursion ended in Kasteel Groenendaal, where a delicious meal of venison was provided by the Polish State Forests.
The opening of the state forests exhibition in the European Parliament, by MEP Nils Torvalds (ALDE/Finland), took place on 5 April 2016, as part of a series of events which took place on the occasion of EUSTAFORS’s 10th anniversary of cooperation among state forest organizations at European level.
MEP Nils Torvalds gave a very personal opening statement. “For me,” he said, “the forest is a source of tranquility, joy and revival – a place to relax and to enjoy. In any case, the forest touches us in many ways, also in ways which we might not understand.” He went on to highlight that European forests offer not only environmental or economic benefits, but also have positive social values. It is the practice of sustainable forest management that allows us to benefit from these three very different aspects of European forests.
With regard to climate change, Mr. Torvalds is aware of the unprecedented and urgent challenges. The EU will have to step up to the challenge to successfully meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. There are huge possibilities for climate change mitigation for European forests, but “we will also face some challenges in developing future legislation about what the role of forests can and should be, and how this role should best be accounted for. I am therefore very happy to host this exhibition which is a nice way to highlight the potential of European state forests to contribute to the goals of the EU’s 2020 strategy, the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework and the Paris Agreement for the benefit of society at large.”
Per-Olof Wedin, EUSTAFOR’s President, thanked those EUSTAFOR members who contributed the exhibits – Poland State Forests, Latvijas valsts Meži (Latvia) and the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (Germany) – and emphasized that the “European state forests are proud to show the practical side of how we manage state forests responsibly for people, climate and nature.” The exhibits presented all the different aspects of sustainable and multifunctional forest management in European state forests, including the contribution of Europe’s forests towards climate change mitigation.
The exhibition was on display during the entire week in the core of the European Parliament building and was very well attended. Foresters from Poland provided visitors with additional explanations and distributed promotional materials including 300 fir seedlings which visitors were invited to take home with them. The saplings carried a message: “This fir is a climate activist! In its lifetime it can bind more than 5 tons of CO2.”
The exhibition was organized with the support of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.”
It was in spring 2006 that the “European State Forest Association” – EUSTAFOR for short – held its first general assembly with 21 members present. Founded by the Austrian, Finnish, French and Latvian state forest management organizations, EUSTAFOR was formally established as a result of many years of regular but informal meetings between state forest managers from several countries. They realized that the sustainable development strategy established in 2001 by the European Union covered many sectors of activity and that forest management was impacted by decisions made on subjects as diverse as agriculture, environment, energy, tourism, regional development, etc. At the same time, this type of multi-functional and multi-disciplinary management was very familiar to foresters as was the knowledge that these decisions could unwittingly be contradictory due not only to a lack of a common EU forestry policy, but to the different layers of decision makers within the Members States and the organizations themselves.
The need to create EUSTAFOR as a voice for European state forests within the EU was clear, but was not the association’s only goal. The words of EUSTAFOR’s first Executive Director, Erik Kozenkranius, still ring true: « In putting together our collection of stories of innovation and research and development projects, we have learned a lot from each other. We have pooled our skills and our values as well as our problems, and this has brought us closer together. »
Ten years later, EUSTAFOR’s goals continue to include supporting, improving and increasing sustainable forest management practices from an economic, social, cultural and ecological viewpoint. EUSTAFOR’s 30 members continue to tell their stories, making EUSTAFOR a well-known and dependable voice in the European forest-based sector.
To celebrate its 10 years of existence, EUSTAFOR organized a series of events, including a conference and exhibition in the European Parliament, a reception and an excursion to the Belgian Sonian Forest. The events were held under the the common title: “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature.”
The EUSTAFOR Office invites you to enjoy this special collection of stories in this, our 10th anniversary edition of the eustafor.express!
Metsähallitus has published its Annual Report 2015. As part of the report, Metsähallitus is issuing a Corporate Social Responsibility Report that provides an extensive review of our operations and their social effects from the viewpoint of ecological, cultural, social and financial responsibility.
Despite a slight decline in operating profit, Metsähallitus was able to meet most of its targets in 2015.
Forestry produces timber efficiently and responsibly on state-owned land for more than a hundred delivery locations.
Metsähallitus has promoted ecological and cultural diversity with versatile measures. More and more people are interested in well-maintained protected areas as hiking destinations.
The Annual Report 2015 can be downloaded at julkaisut.metsa.fi. It is also available in Finnish and Swedish. The Finnish version is also available in print.
Metsähallitus, Tuulikki Halla, project coordinator, tuulikki.halla(at)metsa.fi
“Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy in England’s Largest and Most-Visited National Park” is the title of this year’s European State Forest Conference (SFC) hosted by the Forestry Commission, England. It will take place in the Lake District National Park – England’s largest national park, on 21-23 June 2016. Please Register by 30th April 2016!
The Forestry Commission, England, has set up a website with all necessary information concerning the SFC. Please find here an invitation.
The European State Forest Association published a new booklet: “European State Forests Boost the Bioeconomy” to share state forests’ vision of the bioeconomy and explain the potential of European state forests to contribute to the development of this recent economic concept in the EU. European State Forest Management Organizations, members of EUSTAFOR, can serve as reliable partners in achieving the goals set out by the European Union to build a competitive, resource efficient and low-carbon economy. In addition to the significant contribution Europe’s forests already make to the economy, there remains a huge potential for more innovation and growth throughout the forest-based sector.
“This booklet is a short guide on how European state forests can play a significant part in developing both a greener, smarter, more efficient and inclusive European bioeconomy and a bio-based circular economy, using our available resources responsibly and efficiently for the sake of current and future generations,” states Per-Olof Wedin, President of EUSTAFOR.
The publication is the first outcome of EUSTAFOR’s internal Working Group on the Bioeconomy that brings together experts from 10 of EUSTAFOR’s member organizations and its Head Office in Brussels. The booklet was published in April 2016, on the occasion of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary celebrations which took place in Brussels.
Paper copies of the booklet are available from EUSTAFOR’s Brussels office. You can also download the PDF version of the booklet along with EUSTAFOR’s other publications, which can be found in the “Library” section of EUSTAFOR’s new website: www.eustafor.eu
photo: Marek Matecki/CILP
What you should know about the Białowieża Primeval Forest and the European spruce bark beetle that attacks it.
What is happening in the Białowieża Primeval Forest?
Spruce trees that are attacked by the bark beetle massively die in the Białowieża Primeval Forest. This is the biggest reported invasion of bark beetle since many decades. Until this day ca. 500 thousand trees, within the area of three forest districts, have fallen prey to this insect. It means that 4 thousand out of 52 thousand ha of tree stands, that are looked after by foresters, are dead. Trees die also in reserves located within the area maintained by the State Forests and in the Białowieża National Park.
The bark beetle scavenges on limber under the tree bark which leads to tree’s death even within one month. Normally the insect attacks old and weakened trees, however, this time its gradation (i.e. count increase) is so big, that even young, healthy and strong trees fall prey to the insect. It is important to remember that the bark beetle already has begun to attack other tree species, for example pine tree and larch.
Why do foresters want to cut down attacked spruce trees?
Because it is the only effective way to limit the extent of bark beetle gradation when it attacks on such a large scale. Trees that are already colonized by the bark beetle are cut down and removed from the forest in order to disable the transfer of the insects to healthy tree barks. Foresters want to leave the majority of those dead trees that are no longer inhabited by the bark beetles until their natural decay.
The bark beetle gradation appears periodically, irregular in dimension, yetuntil now it has always been under control because foresters have been removing attacked trees from the forest. However, in the period 2011-12 the Ministry of the Environment limited the timber harvesting in forest districts and in consequence it was impossible to stop the gradation expansion – the number of trees colonized by insects grows rapidly.
Białowieża Forest Districts of the State Forests want to obtain consent from the Minister of the Environment to cut down spruce trees due to three reasons:
- In order to limit the gradation; the bark beetle spread will continue unless the attacked spruce trees are logged and removed from the Białowieża Primeval Forest (spruce tree constitutes 30 % of the Białowieża Primeval Forest tree stands). Current bark beetle gradation also endangers precious habitats protected under law pursuant to Nature 2000, for example subcontinental oak-hornbeam forest – foresters are responsible for its preservation.
- for safety reasons: dead oak trees within few years after death fall over. If they are not felled, a/o along roads and trails, they will pose threat to people. As a consequence it would be necessary to impose exclusion order, prohibiting from entering to the Białowieża Primeval Forest.
- Only the logging of dead spruce trees will enable to introduce renewals (natural and man-made), which in several dozen years will erase the bark beetle trail. Without the human help, the restoration of the Białowieża Primeval Forest would last much longer. Where possible, foresters want to initiate natural renewals. Where it is impossible to use natural measures, foresters will conduct man-made renewals – foresters will seed cuttings of various forest’s species that come from seeds obtained from specially selected trees from the Białowieża Primeval Forest.
Why don’t foresters want to leave spruce trees on their own, as ecologists propose?
Ecologists claim that the bark beetle plague is a natural phenomenon and the nature will cope with it on its own. They want to let the bark beetle spread to other spruce trees, so that the spruce trees will fall over and the forest will renew on its own. The only problem is that the current bark beetle gradation, has not be present on such a large scale for a very long time. The insect will destroy the whole area of the Białowieża Primeval Forest. In a few years’ time it will be hazardous to enter such area because of dead trees fall-over. Expansive grass (for example small reed) will replace trees when they will already have fallen over – this view is also shared among ecologists. These grass create thick and dense bark layer that will make the fragile tree seedling impossible to break through it. In that way for decades before trees battle the grass, vast parts of the Białowieża Forest would resemble steep, not a forest that we are used to know.
Therefore, according to foresters, ecologists propose conducting a hazardous experiment on the Białowieża Primeval Forest. Similar experiments are being conducted by Czechs within the area of destroyed by the bark beetles Šumava National Park, and Germans in Bavarian Forest National Park. Moreover, Polish ecologists want to conduct this experiment within the whole area of the Białowieża Primeval Forest – the most precious forest in Europe. Who will take responsibility if the experiment ends up in failure? The answer is – foresters, by virtue of the law. In similar disasters human has always helped the nature in order not to irreversibly lose precious animal and plant habitats.
Secondly, the obligation of conducting active forest protection, in this case active fight against bark beetle, is imposed on foresters by regulations, precisely the Forest Act. The Art. 9 says that in order to ensure the general forests protection, their owners (in case of The State Forests foresters that manage forests on behalf of the Treasury) are obliged to: structure the balance within forest ecosystems, increase the natural resistance of tree stands, and especially: to prevent, detect and combat the spread and appearance of harmful organisms. Another Article says that in case of occurrence of harmful organisms to the extent that it endangers the persistence of tree stands, the forest manager performs combative and protective treatments.
Where will foresters perform logging?
It needs to be emphasized that the foresters’ demand involving increase in logging does not concern the area of the Białowieża National Park. It concerns a small part of timberlands that constitute fragment of the Białowieża Primeval Forest, which covers total area of 150 thousand ha, and 65 thousand ha lies on the Polish side. The State Forests maintain the area of ca 50 thousand ha of the Białowieża Primeval Forest, and tree stands of the Białowieża Forest District, that tries to obtain consent to log attacked trees, constitute 12 thousand ha. However, major part of these grounds cover reserves and hydric and pioneer habitats excluded from usage. Therefore, dead spruce trees would be logged only within other grounds – total 7 thousand ha that constitute ca. 5 percent of the whole Białowieża Primeval Forest area.
Can bark beetle gradation be stopped?
It is impossible to completely stop the gradation of bark beetle, because it would require logging all attacked spruce trees, also those that grow on protected grounds including the National Park grounds. Moreover, logging shall take place before spring comes when insects start scavenge again. However, even logging of the part of attacked spruce trees that grow on the area managed by the State Forests, will reduce the spread of the plague to other tree stands. It is essential to remember that bark beetles that scavenge on one tree are able to attack 30 other trees, and these attacks may occur four times a year.
How much money will the State Forests earn on the spruce tree logging?
The Browsk, Hajnówka and Białowieża Forest Districts are profitless. All 430 Forest Districts of the State Forests contribute to forestry fund, that finances such deficient units as Białowieża Forest Districts. When foresters ask for introducing an amendment to the forest management plan, they have in mind the good of the Białowieża Primeval Forest, not the economical income. Money, that must be spent by the State Forests on the dead tree logging, removing them from tourist traces and carting those trees that are inhabited by insects and pose a real threat to other trees, will be equal to the revenue from sales of colonized by bark beetle timber, that can be used only as a firewood. Dead trees that are abandoned by bark beetles will be left in the Białowieża Primeval Forest until their natural decay. Only a part of them will be logged and pulled away – those that grow by tourist traces or roads and pose threat to people.
Will foresters log spruce trees ‘to the core’?
Not in the vast majority. They will log only dead spruce trees or those colonized by the bark beetle, posing threat to a/o people. At the worst, in those areas where trees that grow side by side are lodged on a bigger scale, the so called nests will be created. In the majority of cases only single trees will be lodged. It is important to remember that all areas, where the logging will take place, are going to be renewed: where it is possible – in a natural way, in other areas – with human help by planting new trees.
photo: Michał Wojcieszkiewicz/december2015
Is Białowieża Primeval Forest really primeval?
Forest that was not modified by a human can be called primeval. Natural forest, on the other hand, is a forest that was also not planted by a human, however, it may be used in a moderate degree. There is a dispute that concerns whether within the area of the Białowieża Primeval Forest can be found fragments of primeval forest, because human has been using it for a thousands of years. The most similar to primeval forest is the 5 thousand ha area within the territory of the Białowieża National Park, where logging has been forbidden since tsarist times because it was a game refuge.
The Białowieża Primeval Forest, within the territory maintained by the State Forests and thanks to the sustainable forest management, had survived in its natural state. For example, within the territory of the Białowieża Forest District one – third of the Białowieża Primeval Forest area constitute reserves. Another 34 percent of the District’s territory, where trees are also not logged, constitute tree stands considered to be over 100 years old. Within the remaining one – third of the district’s forests, about 25 percent of tree stands, that constitute usage hydric and pioneer habitats, are excluded from usage. However, even the remaining 2800 ha of the Białowieża forests are managed in a different way in comparison with the rest of the country’s forests. For example, within the territory of the closes national park there are not performed clearcut harvests, heavy equipment is not used and the renewal is only natural. Moreover, within the area of all three Białowieża Primeval Forest districts, the level of logging is much lower than within other forest districts in Poland.
Why the whole area of the Białowieża Primeval Forest was not integrated into the national park?
Foresters are not a party in regard to extending the Białowieża National Park. This decision rests with the Minister of the Environment. The State Forests, just as the Białowieża National Park, are subordinate to the Ministry of the Environment and are to implement national forest policy. It is evident that every decision made by the Ministry is respected by us and the State Forests shall conform to it.
However, we believe that the State Forests have been maintaining the Białowieża Primeval Forest area successfully for over 90 years. Demands regarding integrating these grounds to the national park are the best evidence. They stem from the fact that these forests were, and after 90 years still are highly biodiversified.
This week the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) celebrated its 10th anniversary of cooperation among state forest organizations at European level with a conference, an exhibition, a forest food reception and a forest excursion under the common title “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature.”
The conference was organized in the European Parliament (EP) under the auspices of the three Chairs of the EP Committees which are the most relevant for the forest sector, namely: MEP Czesław Adam Siekierski (Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development), MEP Giovanni La Via (Committee on Environment, Public Health, Food Safety) and MEP Jerzy Buzek (Committee on Industry, Research and Energy). MEP Paul Brannen (S&D/UK) co-hosted the event. Several presentations were made, followed by a stakeholder panel discussion during which the potential of European forests to contribute to the goals set out by the EU’s 2020 strategy, the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework and the Paris Agreement (COP-21) were highlighted.
MEP Siekierski referred to the role of forests in protecting water resources as well as being an important contributor to the development of rural areas. He announced the upcoming work of the three committees on their joint report regarding the EU Forest Strategy.
MEP La Via stated that managed forests have a higher capacity to sequester carbon than unmanaged forests. He also pointed out that forest fires and other damage can be prevented by properly designed management practices.
MEP Buzek underlined that forests have a great potential to contribute to the bioeconomy and the circular economy and that industry and forest policies must be designed horizontally.
Prof. Gert-Jan Nabuurs (Wageningen University, Netherlands) delivered the keynote address about the new role for forests and the forest sector in achieving the EU post-2020 climate targets. He pointed out that European forests are currently a sink for 10% of the EU’s total emissions and that there is an additional 9% CO2 mitigation potential if the carbon storage of forests is increased by applying so-called climate-smart forestry practices. State forests can play a significant role. They are large entities who manage substantial areas and are capable of providing many examples of climate-smart management practices.
Prof. Tomasz Zawiła-Niedźwiecki, Deputy Director General of the Polish State Forests, explained how climate change influences daily management practices. He presented the concept of “Forest Carbon Farms” that can serve as a functional network of areas promoting forest management activities which enhance CO2 mitigation efforts. Prof. Zawiła-Niedźwiecki highlighted that additional forestry activities play an important role in increasing greenhouse gas removals and that national legislation and monitoring systems should enable the experimental marketing of removal units.
Mr. Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director Natural Capital, European Commission (DG Environment) stated that biodiversity and forest management can be reconciled if sustainable forest management is practiced. Forests are Europe’s largest type of ecosystem in a relatively natural and semi-natural state. Around ¼ of the EU’s forests is part of Natura 2000. He quoted the State of Nature in the EU report (2015) according to which most forest types and forest-related species are in an unfavorable conservation status. Mr. Delgado Rosa stated that forest owners and managers need to be encouraged and rewarded for keeping up sustainable and multifunctional forestry that also offers green job opportunities and enhances biodiversity.
MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri said the bioeconomy was an effective tool against climate change and noted that state forests play a key role in the bioeconomy. Wind and solar energy are very important but 25% of renewable energy comes from biomass derived mostly from forests. Decarbonization of the economy and the energy union are not possible without biomass. Ms. Kumpula-Natri emphasized that the EU’s bioeconomy should primarily be built on domestically-produced raw materials and called for a policy framework that attracts investments.
MEP Paul Brannen, Harald Mauser (EFI), Luc Bas (IUCN), Fanny-Pomme Langue (AEBIOM) and Pekka Pesonen (Copa-Cogeca) joined in subsequent panel discussion which tackled the following questions: Should Europe increase the production and use of wood raw materials? How can biodiversity and other ecosystem services be maintained if, for climate reasons, forest production is increased? What would be the best solution for forestry in the EU’s post-2020 climate change policy?
Per-Olof Wedin, EUSTAFOR’s President, stated that over the past 10 years EUSTAFOR contributed with state forests’ experience and knowledge to the EU’s major forest-relevant policy developments. Today, EUSTAFOR would like to offer its views on how state forests can boost the bioeconomy and how sustainable forest management can contribute to other policy developments driven by the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The conference was followed by the opening of an exhibition by MEP Nils Torvalds (ALDE/Finland). The exhibition was on display during the entire week in the European Parliament and presented different aspects of sustainable and multifunctional forest management in European state forests.
Both events were organized with the support of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.”
For more information (programne, list of speaker, presenetation…) click here.
EUSTAFOR participated as a strategic partner in the “Forest City Project” which is a campaign to communicate the value of forests, to connect urban societies with green spaces and to encourage people to reconnect with nature by visiting forests.
First location of the exhibition on the esplanade of the European Parliament building
One main component of the project is a series of 10 large cubes covered with pictures of forests. The exhibition was first displayed on the esplanade of the European Parliament building for two weeks starting on March 21, the International Day of Forests. Afterwards the cubes were moved to Square de Meeûs, a very busy park in the European District of Brussels, located only a few steps down the street from the European Forestry House. They will remain on display there until June 5, the World Environment Day. This highly original exhibit shows not only the beauty of the forest but also its multi-functionality.
Present location of the exhibition at Square de Meeûs
A poster “Wood is all around you!” was designed in cooperation with EUSTAFOR’s Communicators Network. It illustrates a variety of products that are used by people every day and which are derived from wood. EUSTAFOR’s poster, located at the entrance to the park, is highly visible and is on display next to another EUSTAFOR exhibit.
All the pictures of the “Forest City Project” can be viewed online.
EUSTAFOR contributed to the “Revolve Magazine” with an article about sustainable and multifunctional forest management as practised in European state forests.
Read EUSTAFOR’s article online.
On the occasion of EUSTAFOR’s 10th anniversary, the Brussels office launched a number of promotional campaigns to raise the awareness of various target groups about the contribution of sustainable forest management for people, climate and the nature. Thanks to its Latvian member, Latvijas Valsts Mezi, EUSTAFOR was able to allow the population of Europe’s capital to not only see but actually feel what 1 ton of CO2 looks like! A solid oak wood bench was placed right at the entrance of Square de Meeus where, for 2 months, visitors to this green oasis in the busy European Quarter will be invited to “take a seat on one tonne of CO2.” On the 1 m³ bench it is explained that it contains 1 ton of CO2, which grows in European state forests every 0.16 seconds. The bench will remain in the park until World Environment Day on 5 June 2016.
Sustainable and multifunctional forestry, Poland. Source: Robert Antosz
More than 1/3 of Europe is covered by forests, providing a wealth of natural resources, delivering important economic, environmental and social values for the benefit of all Europeans and an enormous potential to mitigate climate change. Up to 1/3 of Europe’s forests are owned by States, which means that they belong to the citizens of Europe! State Forest Management Organizations look after Europe’s forests and practice multifunctional and sustainable forest management of the highest standards for the benefits of all.
State Forests Deliver
European State Forest Management Organisations adhere to the principles of sustainable forest management based on the following triple bottom line of sustainability:
- Acting as a cornerstone of Europe’s bioeconomy by producing over 1/3 of the EU’s timber harvest
- Creating and maintaining economic prosperity and jobs, especially in Europe’s rural areas
- Serving as reliable partners for research and innovation in the forest-based sector
- Leading the way in providing the necessary conditions for Europe to move towards a bio-based green economy
- Acting as forerunners in the use and development of ecologically sound silvicultural methods of sustainable forest management that allow forest ecosystems to adapt to climate change
- Maintaining a home for biodiversity and protecting endangered species through the management of most of Europe’s Natura 2000 network and other protected areas
- Helping to regulate and control changes in the climate by providing carbon sinks and carbon-neutral raw materials
- Supporting fundamental natural processes such as nutrient and water cycles and protecting the soil
- Maintaining forest infrastructures to make them resilient to diseases, flooding, erosion, and fire hazards
- Offering a significant number of ecosystem services and other non-material benefits for the general well-being of all Europeans
- Provisioning of clean air and water supplies
- Creating and maintaining recreational areas open to the general public for hiking, wildlife observation and other outdoor activities
- Maintaining scenic and natural heritage areas of cultural value
- Provisioning of wild food and game
Sustainable Forest Management – a Pan-European Story
Managing forests sustainably means to manage and use the forests in such a way that future generations will benefit from forests as much as, and possibly even more than, we do now. Their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity and vitality are maintained while leaving all interconnected ecosystems intact. Forests that are managed sustainably will maintain their potential to fulfill relevant ecological, economic and social functions.
Young elk in a Polish state forest. Source: Karol Zalewski
The European Ministers responsible for forests have defined Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through the following six pan-European criteria:
- Maintenance and appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to global carbon cycles
- Maintenance of forest ecosystems’ health and vitality
- Maintenance and encouragement of productive functions of forests (wood and non-wood)
- Maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems
- Maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water)
- Maintenance of other socioeconomic functions and conditions
The functions of forests are manifold and often the same forest area needs to provide a mix of functions simultaneously. Forests are habitats for many plants and animals and they provide a very high degree of biodiversity. At the same time, they are beautiful places for recreation, such as hiking and jogging, for observing nature and for children to play and explore. They deliver oxygen and filter the air, their roots store and filter water. Growing trees absorb CO2 and thereby mitigate climate change. The forest is a working place for many people. The harvesting, processing and use of the wood from forests contribute to rural development and jobs. The above are just some examples of the many functions our forests provide and why sustainable forest management is an essential part of achieving Europe’s economic, environmental and social objectives.
Forest management practices are adapted to diverse policy goals and social expectations. These vary from one forest to another. In forests close to cities, for example, forest managers will pay special attention to the need for recreation areas whereas in forests with very high diversity and rare species, conservation is especially important. Other forests are valued for their high productivity or the role they play in controlling erosion. The main focus of a forest’s function does not mean that other essential functions are neglected. Sustainable multifunctional forest management, as applied in European state forests, aims to balance the complex and sometimes conflicting sets of demands on forests, for the benefit of all.
Use Wood! Mitigate Climate Change!
Forests play a key role in the mitigation of carbon emissions. It is estimated that EU forests and the forest sector currently contribute with an overall climate change mitigation impact that amounts to about 13% of total EU emissions. Forests and good forest management are the most cost-effective options to reduce emissions and contribute to the goals of the ambitious Paris Agreement that aims to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
In the thick of the forest, Poland. Source: Krzysztof Pawlowski
Growing trees take up carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis and store carbon in their woody structure during the growth period of their life cycle. As a tree matures, its rate of growth slows down, and the amount of CO2 sequestration decreases until the rotting wood of a dead tree releases CO2 back into the atmosphere.
The ideal time for harvesting varies mainly in function of the intended use of the wood and the lifetime of a tree which can range between approximately 50 years for fast growing species such as birch to more than 200 years for slow growing species such as oak. Forest managers are able to regulate the harvesting and the regeneration of trees through adjusting appropriate silvicultural techniques, boosting the CO2 sequestration rate of forests while maintaining the many other social, cultural, economic and environmental services they are expected to provide. They contribute to reducing fossil emissions and strengthening low-carbon economic growth. As long as forests are managed sustainably, the overall CO2 balance on a landscape scale will be positive.
In addition to being a renewable raw material, wood has a great potential to store carbon in numerous wood-based products that can replace energy-intensive materials. After a tree is harvested, it continues to act as a carbon store when it is used in such traditional industries as construction, furniture, pulp and paper, as well as the many new bio-based industries which have emerged in recent years. According to scientifically proven estimates, every cubic meter of wood used as a substitute for other building materials reduces CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by an average of 1.9 tons of CO2 equivalent.
Woody biomass from forests and residues is the largest source of renewables in Europe. Bioenergy currently represents 60% of the EU’s total consumption of renewables. Using modern wood-based energy carriers (liquid, gas, wood chips or pellets) made from harvesting and industrial residues from sustainably managed forests is climate smart compared to the use of fossil energy. The majority of bioenergy is generated from biomass that originates from sustainably managed forests. It can be used for heating, electricity generation and transport fuels. Wood for use as an energy source comes not only in the form of residues from final tree harvesting but also from thinning and other sustainable forestry practices. Wood for energy use can also be derived as a by-product from the downstream processing of wood by manufacturing, for example in the form of off-cuts, trimmings, sawdust, shavings, wood chips or by-products of the pulp industry. End-of-life wood and paper products can also be used as a source of energy.
A Boost to the Bioeconomy
Managing forests, harvesting trees, processing timber and manufacturing wood products provide jobs to many people thereby playing an important role in the economic development, employment and prosperity of Europe, particularly in rural areas.
Hut in mountain spruce forest in the winter, Austria. Source: ÖBf/S. Gamsjäger
EUSTAFOR members harvest around 1/3 of the 400 million m³ timber logged annually in the EU. But more than 800 million m3 of wood is used in the EU every year. European state forests have a significant unused resource since only approximately 60-70% of the annual growth in state forests is made available for wood supply. They therefore have a great potential to contribute towards building a resource efficient and green European economy.
Increasing the use of domestically produced biomass can help diversify Europe’s energy supply, providing energy security, create economic growth and jobs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. A wise, sustainable utilization of Europe’s forests is key to finding solutions to major issues within the EU and worldwide. European forests have a role to play in working towards achieving the goals set out by the European Commission in its Bioeconomy Strategy (2012) and 2050 Low-Carbon Economy Roadmap.
A Haven for Biodiversity
Apart from a few rare exceptions, forests in Europe have, throughout the centuries, been influenced by human activity. Sustainably managing these semi-natural forests can provide an even higher degree of biodiversity than natural forests at times. In most cases, forest management is not only compatible with the conservation of biodiversity, but actually actively contributes to its maintenance and enhancement.
Harvesting and thinning operations open up the forest canopy, allowing more light to reach down through the lower levels of the forest, encouraging dormant seeds to germinate, providing light for plants to grow and flower and warmth for cold-blooded animals. This type of forest management mimics natural dynamics and promotes tree species that would otherwise not have a chance to thrive. There are always some trees that are excluded from harvesting because they serve as habitat trees for birds, beetles and other animals that live in their holes. Some trees are allowed to decay in order to provide the rotten wood necessary for the survival of wood pickers and stag beetles.
It cannot be overstated how important Europe’s forests are for biodiversity. European state foresters have a wide experience of integrating biodiversity conservation into their forestry practices. This is reflected in the fact that around half of the total area of the European Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world – consists of forests, most of them in state forests. The Natura 2000 network protects Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats and almost 40% of European state forests are protected and protective forests.
We would like to confirm that both the EUSTAFOR General Assembly and
10-Year Anniversary Celebrations will take place, as planned, in Brussels
5-6 April 2016
The Zaventem airport is in the process of setting up a temporary terminal. Even if this temporary terminal goes into operation by the end of this week, the airport will not be able to handle all of its regular traffic. Many flights have been rerouted to other regional airports (many to Charleroi/Brussels South with easy shuttle service to the Midi train station in Brussels) and other nearby cities (Amsterdam, Paris) with rapid train connections to Brussels. Please chec
k with your airlines to see what has been proposed for your flight.
The metro is offering limited services, but all tram and bus lines in Brussels are up and running.
We Look Forward To Seeing You At Our Events!
In addition to its participation “Forest City Project” (see above) EUSTAFOR contributed to the spring issue of Revolve Magazine, publishing an article which explains the sustainable and multifunctional forest management practiced in European state forests. The article’s title “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature” was also the title of EUSTAFAOR’s 10th anniversary events organized in the European Parliament during the 1st week of April.
The article focuses on explaining the economic, environmental and social values offered to the European societies by sustainably managed state forests. In particular, the role of forests in the mitigation of climate change, the contribution of state forests to the European bioeconomy and how important Europe’s state forests are for biodiversity were explained.
The entire spring issue of REVOLVE Magazine, including EUSTAFOR’s article (page 10), is available online here.
From the International Day of Forests on March 21 to the World Environment Day on June 5, The Forest City Project will bring the forest into Brussels. EUSTAFOR is a Partner of the Project.
The campaign is organized by the communications agency Revolve Media in co-operation with a number of Brussels-based organizations. The kick-off will be on March 21 which is also the International Day of Forests. It will extend throughout the spring with different public activities and campaigns in the lead-up to World Environment Day on June 5, 2016.
EUSTAFOR became a strategic partner of the project because we agree on the common goals of this campaign to bring people into the forest in order for them to benefit from the services forests provide.
The project will use large format photo displays (cubes). Initially they will be displayed for two weeks, as of 21 March, at the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament in Brussel. After April 5 they will be moved to the Square de Meeus, a park close to the European Forestry House where they will remain until World Environment Day on 5 June 2016 (flyer).
Can you sit on CO2? Please take a seat!
And have a look:
This bench is made out of 1 m³ wood, which grows in European state forests every 0,16 seconds.
It was build and provided by EUSTAFOR’s Latvian member Latvijas Valsts Mezi.
“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests.” (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon)
The European forest owners, managers, forest industry and professionals, represented by key stakeholders of the European forest sector: CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, ELO, EUSTAFOR, CEI-Bois, CEPI, FECOF, UEF and USSE, welcome the declaration by the UN General Assembly of the International Day of Forests on 21 March which this year has the theme “Forests and Water”.
Water is a vital element of all natural resources and essential to life, but nearly 80 percent of the world’s population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security. There is a growing imbalance between water supply and demand in the world, and also in Europe we increasingly need to ensure adequate water quality and quantity.
The European forest sector welcomes the opportunity to emphasize the role of forests and water. We consider that EU needs to better communicate the strong link between forests and water. Forests have a close relationship to our water resources and sustainable forest management is of crucial importance for ensuring a multitude of water-related benefits.
As representatives of the European forest sector we would like to highlight some of the important ways in which our forests enable access to this vital resource. Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs. Forests influence the amount of available water and regulate surface and groundwater flows while maintaining highest water quality. Forests reduce the effects of floodings, and prevent and reduce dryland salinity and desertification. Forests act as natural water filters, minimizing soil erosion on site and reduce sediment in water bodies.
In the context of this year’s International Day of Forests, we also need to mention the impact that climate change has on water and the role of forests. Climate change is one of the major challenges facing today’s society. The impacts of climate change are an imminent threat to water security, and forests themselves are vulnerable to climate change. An increased frequency of extreme weather events has an impact on both forests and water, and may result in more catastrophic events like landslides, floods and droughts.
However, forests can also help reducing the impacts of such events. Europe’s forest sector is at the forefront of combatting climate change by contributing to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Active forest management is crucial to enhance forests adaptive capacity, making them more resilient to meet a changing climate and maintaining the vital water-related services provided by forests.
On 25-26 February 2016 EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director Piotr Borkowski participated in an International Conference: The future of forestry and wood processing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, held in Kupres, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The two-day conference was organized by the newest member of EUSTSAFOR – Sumsko Gospodarsko Drustvo “HERCEGBOSANSKE SUME” – with an ultimate aim to present of the potential of forestry and wood processing sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Southeast Europe.
The main topics discussed concentrated on current market developments and trends in the forestry and wood processing industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the necessary adaptations of existing Bosnian legislation on forest management and wood processing industries to the EU standards. Furthermore, aspects related to sustainability of forest management, challenges in the management of private forests, growing energy crops and short rotation coppice to meet increasing demand for biomass, mobilization of low quality wood and residues to meet increasing demands for forest biomass for bioenergy were discussed by around 200 participants from across the country and the entire Balkan sub-region.
In his opening address, Mr Borkowski stated that “it is of particular importance that, in Europe, wood processing remains close to wood harvesting operations and that State Forest Management Organizations are perceived as reliable partners in the wood markets. Today a good policy framework is needed in Europe that supports and guarantees a competitive position of both wood-producing and woodworking sectors”.
The conference also provided good opportunities to present EUSTAFOR to the wider group of state forest managers from other parts of Bosnia & Herzegovina and other Balkan countries, such as Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, etc.
Back to back with the main events of KUPRES 2016 Conference, the Executive Director visited forests managed by HERCEGBOSANSKE ŠUME, 30% of which remain inaccessible due to unrecovered mine fields. Specific sylvicultural systems applied in the management of mountainous forests, challenges related to pest eradication within inaccessible forests as well as aspects related to the adjustment of forest related regulations to EU standards and use of EU funds for implementation of trans-boundry projects were broadly discussed.
Between 2010 and 2015, Metsähallitus carried out a field survey of cultural heritage sites in multiple-use forests owned by the Finnish government. The project was part of the National Forest Programme 2015. Nearly four million hectares of managed forests, forest land of low productivity and non-productive land were surveyed. The project was the largest field survey of cultural heritage in the history of Finland, and the first to identify and protect in the forests the cultural heritage of later periods.
The cultural heritage survey mapped the marks humans have left in the Finnish forests from the Stone Age until the 1960s. Over a period of six years, archaeologists documented more than 10,000 sites with 100,000 individual structures. As most of the areas had never before been surveyed, the project produced vast amounts of new information on the history of Finland.
Thousands of new sites from Stone Age dwellings to military history sites
With the cultural heritage survey, the number of fixed antiquities protected under the Antiquities Act in multiple-use forests nearly quadrupled from a thousand to some 4,000 in number. Hundreds of new Stone Age dwelling sites were discovered, the oldest of which were inhabited nearly 10,000 years ago. In Lapland, the oldest sites identified during the project moved back the earliest known period of inhabitation by up to a thousand years. Other documented sites included hunting pits, graves, holy sites and thousands of tar pits and charcoal pits.
The cultural heritage sites from later periods largely comprise crofts, forest rangers’ estates, log floating and logging cabins, tracks, farms, meadow barns and log floating structures dating back to the 1900s. While these have not fallen within the Antiquities Act, Metsähallitus has decided to protect them as a result of the survey. Since these wooden or stone structures are rapidly disintegrating, the survey was carried out in the nick of time. In addition to geographical location data, the project collected stories related to the sites, featuring characters from seers to bear hunters.
Exceptionally, the project also carried out systematic mapping and protection of sites of military history on government land, which were also about to be reclaimed by the forest. Some 2,000 Second World War sites were documented, comprising defensive structures, dugouts, trenches and emplacements used in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Crucially, the ‘dark heritage’, referring to the silenced history of the wars, was explored in Lapland and Kainuu regions especially.
Cultural heritage as part of silviculture
Metsähallitus planning officers and contractors now have new fieldwork guidelines that they can take to the sites. Personnel training was provided on site identification. Data and photographs on each site were saved in Metsähallitus’s information system where they are available to planning officers right from the silviculture planning stage.
The total project expenditure came to some four million euros, funded by the Forestry business. Cultural heritage surveys facilitate the sustainable use of Metsähallitus land. The cultural heritage sites will be used across a range of fields, from the development of tourism to teaching and research.
Hunting pits were used in deer and elk hunting from the Stone Age up until the 1800s. Trainee Tuuli Taivalantti documenting a pit in Suomussalmi, Kainuu. Photo: Hanna Kelola-Mäkeläinen/Metsähallitus.
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Antti Otsamo: +358 40 719 7734 / firstname.lastname@example.org