All information about EUSTAFOR’s 10-years Anniversary events

Conference “Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature”

Tuesday, 5 April 2016
14.30 – 17.30
Room P7C050
European Parliament (Brussels)
(Interpretation in EN, FR, DE, PL)

Hosted by:

MEP Czesław Adam Siekierski
Chair of the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

MEP Giovanni La Via
Chair of the EP Committee on Environment, Public Health, Food Safety

MEP Jerzy Buzek
Chair of the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

MEP Paul Brannen
Member of the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development



Prof. Gert-Jan Nabuurs (Wageningen University, Netherlands)
“A new role for forests and the forest sector in the EU post 2020 climate targets” (Keynote presentation)

Prof. Tomasz Zawiła-Niedźwiecki (Deputy Director General, Poland State Forests)
Climate change – management change?

Mr. Humberto Delgado Rosa (Director Natural Capital, European Commission, DG Environment)
“Are sustainable use and biodiversity mutually exclusive?”

MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (FI/ITRE)
“Bioeconomy grows in European forests”

Policy experts and stakeholders’ views

Panel discussion followed by a questions-and-answers session with the audience
– moderated by Ms. Linda Andersson (Sveaskog, Sweden)

Mr. Tomasz Zawiła-Niedźwiecki, Deputy Director General, Poland State Forests
Mr. Humberto Delgado Rosa (Director, DG ENV B, European Commission)
Ms. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, MEP (FI/ITRE)
Mr. Paul Brannen, MEP (UK/S&D)
Mr. Harald Mauser, Liaison Officer, EFI
Mr. Luc Bas, Director of the IUCN European Union Representative Office
Ms. Fanny-Pomme Langue, Policy Director, AEBIOM
Mr. Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA-COGECA

Click here to consult the comprehensive conference documentation.



Forest Exhibition

On display 5 – 7 April 2016
Opening 5 April, 18.00
European Parliament (Brussels)

Hosted by:

MEP Nils Torvalds
Vice-Chair of the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, Member of the EP Committee on Environment, Public Health, Food Safety


The exhibition will present different aspects of sustainable and multifunctional forest management in European state forests.
Exhibits kindly provided by Poland State Forests, Latvijas valsts Meži (Latvia) and the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (Germany).


Both the conference and the exhibition are organized with the support of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) and the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”.


Click here to see all pictures and texts of the Bavarian exhibit.

More information about the Forest Exhibition…


Forest Reception

Tuesday, 5 April 2016, 19.00
European Forestry House
Rue du Luxembourg 66 (Brussels)

Hosted by:


The Forest Reception is organized with the support of Poland State Forests offering a variety of traditional venison of different game and forest related drinks.


Forest Excursion

6 April 2016
9.00 – 15.00
Sonian Forest

Hosted by:

Natuurinvest (Flanders, Belgium)

The forest excursion to the Sonian Forest on 6 April is organized by EUSTAFOR and its Flemish member, Natuurinvest, to show the manifold functions of the forests. It will end with a lunch of venison and other products from the forest.  (Bus will leave at 14.00, returning to the Place du Luxembourg). Click here for the initial presentation.



More information about the Forest Excursion…


Click here to consult the programme of all four events

With these three events, EUSTAFOR is highlighting 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. The events will coincide with celebrations of the 10th anniversary of cooperation among state forest organizations at European level.

Inform-Prioritize-Collaborate on Forestry related Innovation

The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) in cooperation with the ERIAFF Network, EFI, CEPF, COPA-COGECA, ERRIN, EUROMONTANA hosted the second edition of the workshop “Inform-Prioritize-Collaborate: Cooperation of Regions on Innovation in Forest Management, Use of Wood and Forest-Related Services.”

About 100 participants from countries all over Europe attended the workshop that took place on 29 January 2016 in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels.

Based on the innovation challenges defined at the first workshop in 2014, this meeting aimed to support innovation in forest management and the use of wood and forest related services by offering a platform for the actors and stakeholders to present and exchange ideas.

EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, Piotr Borkowski, welcomed the participants on behalf of EUSTAFOR and underlined the importance of innovation in a changing environment. European state forest management organizations support research and innovation both in silvicultural operations and new end uses for wood. This is seen as an essential investment which will allow us to both create and meet future growth in demands from society as well as industry.

Innovation_Workshop_2016Following the European Commission’s presentations of the European framework for innovation in forestry, the workshop focused on practical cases and project ideas from European Regions. Inspirational cases of Operational Groups of the European Innovation Partnerships on Agricultural Sustainability and Productivity (EIP AGRI) were presented by France, Italy, Norway and Spain. The cases showed practical ideas on tackling forest-related challenges through innovation and cross-sectoral collaboration.

During brokerage sessions participants had the opportunity to meet with many experts and regional actors to learn from other operational groups or to find partners for cooperation.

The event provided a good opportunity to bring together potential stakeholders to improve their project ideas and showed what the Regions are planning, or what they have already implemented, to inspire other territories to make use of available measures and to establish cross-border cooperation.
For more information about the workshop click here.

Metsähallitus (Finland): Giant truck saves money and nature during timber transport


Europe’s largest vehicle combination has begun transporting timber in Lapland. The 104-tonne giant operated by Ketosen Kuljetus transports Metsähallitus’ timber from Inari to Rovaniemi.

Ketosen Kuljetus Oy’s testing licence is valid until the end of 2019. High Capacity Transport (HCT) combinations are able to transport higher amounts of timber per load.

The high payload lowers transport costs. For Metsähallitus, HCT combinations like the 104-tonne giant have a direct impact on the profitability of forestry in northern Finland.

“Our vision is that HCT combinations like this giant will manage long-haul trunk transports in the future, particularly on stretches where rail transport is unavailable,” says Ari Siekkinen, development expert at Metsähallitus. “A range of factors, including long distances, make timber transport conditions challenging in Lapland. Higher efficiency is a must if the aim is to make a living out of this business,” says Risto Ketonen of Ketosen Kuljetus.

HCT transports are environment-friendly due to their lower emissions. Traffic safety will also improve, since higher payloads mean fewer trucks on the road. Many questions have been raised about the bearing capacity of the roads, but the strain on them is more likely to decrease than increase. In studies related to the testing licence, these issues have been examined by Metsäteho, the University of Oulu, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology and Nokian Tyres.

The State Forests of Poland have participated in world exhibition on inventions, research and new technologies – Brussels Innova

The State Forests of Poland have presented an innovative way of recreating  thermophilous oak forest, which is one of the most valuable types of forest, and is protected with EU Habitat Directive. This oak forest is one of the richest floristic forest community appearing in Poland, where on 100 m2 more than 60 species of plants can grow. The project was started in 2012 in Strzałowo Forest District, where the foresters were helped by polish koniks (species of horse). The effects of grazing the forestland were surprising.  New, very rare and protected species of plants appeared at the area, where the oak forest was being reconstructed. Implementation of this project is one of the examples of the multifunctional active protection of species and habitat diversity. The exhibition was prepared by the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Olsztyn.

For more information in Polis and a video clip please visit the LASY PANSTWOWE website.

Metsähallitus (Finland): Nature Volunteer of the Year Award 2015 to Virtavesien hoitoyhdistys – Christmas greetings money to the restoration of stream waters

Metsähallitus gives a Nature Volunteer of the Year Award again to celebrate the International Volunteer Day. This year the recognition goes to Virtavesien hoitoyhdistys (Virho) for their important work in protecting fish populations in stream waters, promoting sustainable fishing techniques and restoring stream waters. Metsähallitus also donates the money reserved for Christmas greetings to Virho for the restoration of stream waters.

Virtavesien hoitoyhdistys ry (Virho) is an association established in 1990 to carry out restoration and fish stock management work in stream waters. The association constructs spawning gravels and rocky areas suitable for fry to revive brown trout stocks, for example. In addition to restoration measures, Virho is engaged in extensive water monitoring, protection and communication measures.

“Wild brown trout stocks are endangered almost throughout Finland, and the sea trout is critically endangered. Without the dedicated work of volunteers, our magnificent salmonid could disappear entirely,” points out Mikko “Peltsi” Peltola, a journalist and reporter who is also engaged in volunteer work by acting as a national park sponsor.

Metsähallitus supports the important work of the association by donating the money reserved for Christmas greetings to the improvement of the living conditions of migratory fish. The sum of EUR 1,000 can be used to purchase approximately 20 cubic metres of gravel, which is the most important material besides rocks needed in stream water restoration. With the help of the donation, the association will construct spawning gravels for migratory fish in the Vantaanjoki water system. Kari Stenholm, who is responsible for measures in the Vantaanjoki water system, is happy about the award and the donation: “Virho carries out systematic restoration work in the Vantaanjoki water system and simultaneously reduces problems relating to the water system by protection measures and communication. With the support provided by Metsähallitus, we will be able to purchase materials for spawning gravels with a total area of approximately 75 square metres.”

The association will organise voluntary work activities together with Metsähallitus in July–August 2016 in the Karjaanjoki water system area to present its activities and to celebrate the Volunteer of the Year Award. The association will participate in the Freshhabit-LIFE project that will be launched in 2016 to improve the status of the aquatic environment in the Karjaanjoki water system and other water systems.

“Our active volunteers are nature and fishing enthusiasts or people otherwise interested in stream waters. We all share a common interest to improve the natural state of rivers and brooks as well as the living conditions of salmonids and other aquatic organisms,” says Esa Lehtinen, Chairman of the association. All interested volunteers are welcome to take part in the activities.

The personnel club of Metsähallitus also participated in the restoration of stream waters together with the City of Vantaa and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment last autumn. The club members constructed spawning gravels in the Tikkurila Rapids flowing next to the head office. A few weeks after the activities had been completed, the first observations of spawning sea trout were made in the new gravels. The idea of donating the money reserved for Christmas greetings as part of the Baltic Sea Commitment made by Metsähallitus emerged at that time.

A total of 26 candidates were proposed for the Nature Volunteer of the Year Award by the deadline. The Nature Volunteer of the Year was selected from among these candidates by the expert group in volunteer work of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland, which has members from different parts of Finland, supported by national park sponsor Mikko “Peltsi” Peltola and Marko Kettunen, the 2014 Award winner known for his active work for the protection of large predators.

The award and the donation will be presented to the Volunteer of the Year on Friday, 4 December 2015 in a small ceremony with traditional Finnish Christmas porridge and coffee.

For further information, please contact:

  • Esa Lehtinen, Chairman, Virtavesien hoitoyhdistys ry (Virho), esa.lehtinen(at), tel. + 358 40 532 8830
  • Kari Stenholm, responsible for measures in the Vantaanjoki water system, Virtavesien hoitoyhdistys ry (Virho), kari.stenholm(at), tel. +358 40 764 8045
  • Juha Mäkinen, Director of Communications, Metsähallitus tel. +358 206 39 4224, juha.makinen(at)
  • Eveliina Nygren, Senior Advisor, Metsähallitus, eveliina.nygren(at), tel. +358 40 759 6057

Europe’s forests in the sustainability spotlight

Forests play an invaluable role in tackling many of today’s challenges. This was one of the widely accepted and recognised conclusions, when Members of the European Parliament, forest owner representatives and other forest-related stakeholders exchanged their views with Phil Hogan, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, during a breakfast meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 


On 25 November 2015, nearly 30 participants, comprising a large number of Members of European Parliament (MEP), as well as several forest owner representatives and other forest-related stakeholders, accepted an invitation by MEP Elisabeth Köstinger, Chair of the working group on Sustainable Forest Management within the EP Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, to a breakfast meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Welcoming the participants, Ms. Köstinger introduced the topic of the meeting, underlining the vital role of Europe’s forests, such as mitigating climate change, establishing and fostering a competitive bio-based economy, strengthening the rural sector as well as maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Ahead of the climate change summit of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, she underlined that “forests are indispensable when it comes to reaching the climate and energy targets. Specifically, Europe’s own forest resources should be used for tackling climate change.”

Addressing the audience in a keynote speech, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, placed Europe’s forests in the spotlight for contributing to solutions for many of today’s challenges: “Forestry represents a key sector in the transition towards a low-carbon and climate friendly economy, and is one of the main sectors that keep our rural areas vibrant and sustainable.” During the open discussion he particularly underlined the role of forest owners and farmers in the context of environmental protection saying, “if they don’t do it – nobody is going to do it.”

This was followed by a number of stakeholder contributions. Philipp zu Guttenberg, Vice-President of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), clearly emphasised the multifunctionality, integrity and sustainability of Europe’s forests: “Our forests and management have much to offer in addressing today’s challenges. The resources we manage can be compared to a Swiss army knife with a view to climate change, energy and the multiple segments within the bioeconomy sector.”

Reinhardt Neft, Vice-President of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), placed the increasingly more diverse and specific demands by society at the centre of his statement. “We increasingly observe that the important productive function of forests is neglected. We should not export our problems to other parts of the world by importing timber in order to set aside our forests. Instead, we need to use and preserve our forests at the same time. Through sustainable, multifunctional forest management, Europe’s forests prove this is possible.”

“Forest owners and managers have a key role to play in enhancing biodiversity conservation, given that 40% of Europe’s overall landmass and half of Natura 2000 protected areas are covered with forests,” said Luc Bas, Director of the European Regional Office of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), when speaking at the event. “Conservation and the use of forests can lead to competing demands on forest ecosystems, but we believe that an open exchange between conservationists and forest owners is critical to enhance mutual understanding and work towards common goals. IUCN will continue to provide a platform for strengthening this important dialogue.”

Providing a forest-related industry perspective, Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary-General of the European Confederation Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), pointed out the evidence of the inter-dependence of forest owners and forest-related industries. He encouraged the Commissioner and the MEPs to develop policies to further stimulate the use of wood, particularly for construction, as a sustainable way to decarbonise the economy and to tackle climate change.

Various MEPs seized the opportunity to share their views during the open discussion. There was a common understanding that forests and forestry do indeed have a vital role to play. Commissioner Hogan concluded that “it is increasingly clear to a growing number of EU policy-makers that forests and forestry hold many of the answers to our shared societal and environmental challenges.”

The working group on Sustainable Forest Management of the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development kicked-off with this meeting. Further interesting meetings and debates within this forum will follow under the auspices of MEP Elisabeth Köstinger.

For further information about the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, please visit:

EUSTAFOR Contributes to the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference 2015

During the last two days, Madrid has hosted the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe and the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference. The conferences addressed issues of the highest relevance regarding current challenges for European forests and the forest sector to ensure the protection of forests and their sustainable management at pan-European level as well as future steps on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe. Two reports were presented, the FOREST EUROPE report “State of Europe’s Forests 2015” and a mid-term evaluation of the implementation of the goals for European forests and the European 2020 targets for forests, as well as a revised set of pan-European indicators for sustainable forest management.

The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) was represented at both conferences by its President, Mr. Per-Olof Weding, and by its Executive Director Mr. Piotr Borkowski. In his statement at the Minister’s Roundtable on “Future challenges and opportunities,” Mr. Wedin highlighted the challenges and opportunities for European state forests with respect to climate change, globalization and increasing demands for bioenergy. He confirmed that European state forest organizations have the ability and the ambition to be a powerful tool for the implementation of the decisions of this Ministerial Conference.

At the Ministerial Roundtable “25 years of FOREST EUROPE,” Mr. Wedin gave a joint statement on behalf of the group of forest owners and managers represented by the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (COPA-COGECA), European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), European Federation of Municipal Forest Owners (FECOF), and Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE).

Mr. Wedin welcomed the Madrid Ministerial Declaration which summarizes and reflects on 25 years of promoting sustainable forest management by the FOREST EUROPE process. He stated that the European public and private forest owners and managers as well as other land owners fully support the ongoing initiative towards further strengthening the current FOREST EUROPE process. They are ready to contribute and take further responsibility towards the next stage of this important process.

Back-to-back with the regular FOREST EUROPE Conference, the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference decided on the outcome of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. A joint statement on behalf of forest owners and managers underlined the necessity to continue further efforts towards a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. If successfully agreed, the instrument could greatly support the European forest sector in enhancing its political integrity and consistency. Therefore, forest owners and managers call for a firm commitment and engagement from all responsible ministers and governments to provide strong leadership and guidance towards a future forest convention at pan-European level.

EUSTAFOR’s 29 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 123 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals.

EUSTAFOR Becomes an Ambassador of the “Biomass Counts” Campaign

The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) has become an Ambassador of the “Biomass Counts” campaign established by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM).

Currently, woody biomass from forests is the largest source of renewables in Europe, and its share is expected to grow by 2020.2 Around 42% of all the mobilized woody biomass supply in the EU is used for energy purposes.3 Bioenergy currently represents 60% of the EU’s total consumption of renewables. The objectives of EUSTAFOR and its members go along with the “Biomass Counts” campaign, which aims to promote biomass usage as a renewable and environment friendly resource. The campaign emphasizes the unique role biomass plays in a strong and competitive low-carbon economy.

EUSTAFOR members apply sustainable biomass production patterns which derive from national legislation on sustainable forest management (SFM) and multifunctional forestry. They are consistent with SFM principles developed by the FOREST EUROPE process. The high-quality forest management practices in European state forests are based on forest management plans and their high environmental standards have been further confirmed by forest certification. The latest figures reported by EUSTAFOR members show that of the approximately 42 million hectares of certified forests they manage, European state forests have a significant unused resource since only approximately 60% of the yearly growth in state forests is made available for wood supply.

In joining other European partners and becoming an Ambassador of the “Biomass Counts” campaign, EUSTAFOR wishes to give a clear signal that European state forest organisations value all their business partners equally. They are open to any partnerships which recognize the contribution made by state forests to the competitive low-carbon bioeconomy and the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions. Through active forest management and the multipurpose use of biomass from sustainable sources, EUSTAFOR sees immense possibilities to counteract climate change, to substitute fossil fuels, to create more green jobs and to play an important part in the transition towards a more competitive bio-based European economy.

EUSTAFOR’s 29 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 123 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.
  3. content/uploads/file/AEBIOM%20Statistical%20Report/AEBIOM_European%20Bioenergy%20Outlook%202012sv.pdf
how can we manage the foot notes above?

Christian Dubreuil – new Chief Executive Officer of l’Office national des forêts

e6f76d9b61e1e1d0Mr. Christian Dubreuil was nominated as the new General Director of the French National Forests Office – Office national des forêts (ONF) at the Council of Ministers which took place on 22 July 2015.
Parliament gave a favorable opinion on his nomination after hearings, on 15 July 2015, by the Committee on Economic Affairs of the National Assembly and the Committee of Economy, Sustainable Development and Spatial Territory.

Christian Dubreuil (59), General Inspector of Agriculture and former Labor Inspector, graduated from the National School of Administration and has been serving as Director General of the Agency of Ile-de-France Region Green Areas since 2010.

Olivier Soulères, Head of the General Inspectorate of ONF, had been in charge during the interim period following the departure of ONF’s former General Director, Pascal Viné, who joined the Agricultural Cooperation (Coop de France) in April 2015.

Twenty Years of Biodiversity Cooperation between Finland and Hunan Province, China

The twenty-year-long biodiversity cooperation between Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland and the Forest Department of Hunan Province, China was celebrated on 29 May 2015 at Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, close to Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.

The celebrations were participated by a high-level ten-member delegation from the Hunan Province. The delegation was headed by Mr. Sun Jinlong, Deputy Secretary, Communist Party of China, Hunan Provincial Committee. The Forest Department of Hunan Province was represented by Mr. Deng Sanlong, Director General and his staff members.

The Finnish host of the celebrations was Dr Rauno Väisänen of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland. The Hunanese delegation also met Mr Esa Härmälä, Director-General of Metsähallitus.

A video greeting of Mr Zhang Xincheng, President of IUCN, the International Union for Nature Conservation, welcomed “the Finnish–Hunanese cooperation as an exemplary model in the conservation of biodiversity between Western countries and China”. Mr Zhang is the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Eco-Forum Global.

Worlds Apart, yet Similar in Many Ways

The issues in biodiversity conservation are often similar in different parts of the world. International cooperation offers opportunities to compare practical solutions and best practices and to learn from each other.

The first stages of the Finnish–Hunanese cooperation were made possible by the financing through the EUROPARC Federation Partnership and Exchange Programme. The focus in the Finnish–Hunanese cooperation has been threefold: knowledge and technology, economic welfare, and scientific research.

Within this framework a Biodiversity Action Plan for Hunan Province was published, based on the many-sided inventory work done jointly by Finns and Hunanese. Another concrete result of the Finnish–Hunanese cooperation is the Hunan Forest and Wetland Biodiversity Education Centre in Changsha. The cooperation programme also included staff exchange and training. Nearly one hundred people have been involved in the cooperation programme so far.

By signing an updated Agreement on Nature Conservation Cooperation, the parties secure the future of the Finnish–Hunanese biodiversity cooperation.

A publication “20 Years of Biodiversity Conservation: Institutional Partnership between Metsähallitus of Finland and Forestry Department of Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China” by Dr. Rauno Väisänen was published on 29 May 2015.

Finnish National Parks Welcome More Chinese Tourists

For the growing numbers of Chinese tourists in Finland, the Parks & Wildlife Finland nature tourism project developed the services for Chinese-speaking tourists in Finland. The one-year project focused on the services and marketing of the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia and Nuuksio National Park in Southern Finland as well as Oulanka, Lemmenjoki and Urho Kekkonen National Parks and at the Nature Centre Siida in Northern Finland and Lapland. A Chinese-language website for nature tourists was opened at

Additional Information:
Publication “20 Years of Biodiversity Conservation”  (

Chinese-language information for nature tourists:

PEFC Cerfication is the Key Promoter of Biodiversity in Commercial Forests

Director General Esa Härmälä, Metsähallitus:

PEFC Certification is the Key Promoter of Biodiversity in Commercial Forests

The PEFC certification has increased the biodiversity and natural value of the Finnish commercial forests during the last decades more than any other single factor, states Esa Härmälä, Director General of Metsähallitus.

Thanks to the preparations that involved a full spectrum of stakeholders, the PEFC certification scheme succeeded in engaging a wide range of forest owners – now over 90% of the Finnish forests are PEFC certified.  What comes to state-owned forests, Härmälä points out the environmental policy of Metsähallitus: “Metsähallitus created its highly appreciated Environmental Guide in collaboration with the WWF, and, largely thanks to the certification, the Guide is very advanced”, says Härmälä. Härmälä commented on the significance of the PEFC certification in a seminar on the PEFC’s effects on Friday.

PEFC has become the leading certification method for environmental quality and land area, both internationally and in Finland. Metsähallitus has participated in the PEFC certification since 1999, and currently 4.3 million hectares of Metsähallitus’s forests are covered by the certification.

The effects of the PEFC certification were assessed by an independent consulting company Gaia Consulting Oy, and the results indicate that the certification has rapidly improved the quality of forest management, with significant positive effects on the preservation of biodiversity in forests.

According to the assessment, the single most effective measure promoting biodiversity is retention trees required by the PEFC standard. Their effect is especially noteworthy among beetle species. While the Finnish legislation does not require that forest owners leave retention trees during timber harvesting, the PEFC certification does require 5–10 retention trees per hectare. Metsähallitus has opted for even more retention trees –16 trees per hectare. Another significant PEFC action that improves biodiversity is the preservation of valuable nature destinations to a much greater extent than required by legislation.

“Forest certification is a truly significant factor promoting increased biodiversity in the Finnish forests – in contrast with many other ecosystems”, says Härmälä. Härmälä hopes that environmental organisations would participate in the development of the PEFC system.

Buffer zones across water bodies have a positive effect on both biodiversity and water protection. In the future, landscape management should perhaps be included in the management of shoreline forests at suitable sites.

The greatest challenge faced by the PEFC system is international recognition and credibility in the market areas. The majority of state forests in Europe are PEFC certified, but it takes a lot of effort before the certification gets the recognition it deserves on the international market. This requires co-operation among all bioeconomy organisations, combined with clear messages promoting bioeconomy based on sustainable forestry. Metsähallitus is strongly committed to the development of the PEFC system.

More information about PEFC Certification:

European state forest managers meet in Lapland

Metsähallitus will manage the annual conference of the European State Forest Association EUSTAFOR on 11–12 June 2015. The conference to be held in Rovaniemi will be attended by more than a hundred representatives of the top management and experts of the 29 member organisations of EUSTAFOR.
EUSTAFOR’s members represent more than one third of forests and fellings in the EU.

The theme of the two-day European State Forest Conference 2015 will be “The Bioeconomy Grows in Forests”. The speakers of the first day will include Heikki Vappula, Executive Vice President, UPM Biorefining, Olli Rehn, the former European Commissioner for Enlargement, and Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, and Pekka Kauppi, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, the University of Helsinki.

The theme will be deepened at one of the three parallel seminars in the afternoon. Niklas von Weymarn, VP, Research Business Development, Metsä Fibre, will speak about the new products and business partnerships of Metsä Group’s new bioproduct mill to be built in Äänekoski. Jyrki Kangas, Professor of Forest Bioeconomy at the University of Eastern Finland, will focus on the impact of bioeconomy on the management and use of forests.

Another parallel seminar in the afternoon will discuss the reputation and conflict management of European state forest organisations. Managing the pressures placed on state-owned lands requires good and efficient communication, whether between the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (Bayerischen Staatsforsten) and Greenpeace, or to include local stakeholders in decision making in the Finnish Lapland. The third parallel seminar will deal with current European game issues from the point of view of both Central European and Finnish hunting traditions.

In the afternoon, participants interested in customer service and guidance provided by Nature Centres and Science Centres will have an opportunity to visit the Pilke Science Centre and the Visitor Centre Naava by Pyhätunturi Fell. On the second day of the conference, the participants will familiarise themselves with Metsähallitus’ multiple-use forest management and have an opportunity to experience the Finnish early summer wildlife and midnight sun during a whole-day trip.

Metsähallitus reports a slightly weaker performance

In 2014, Metsähallitus made 114.2 million Euro in earnings. Group earnings were EUR 1.8 million lower than in the previous year. Turnover totalled EUR 360.6 million, down some 14 million from 2013.

According to Director General Esa Härmälä, 2014 was a successful year for all of Metsähallitus’ main functions.

Among the business functions, operating profit from forestry improved although turnover was reduced by declining demand. Sales of commercial timber declined somewhat, to slightly under 6 million cubic metres.

Laatumaa also recorded a good result. Of the affiliated companies, Siemen Forelia was profitable but Fin Forelia and MH-Kivi made a loss. In 2014, the separate business portfolio unit comprising businesses other than forestry was discontinued.

In forestry, Metsähallitus continued major investment in non-business targets. Taking account of general social obligations that go beyond the provisions of the Forest Act has decreased our calculated operating profit by EUR 55 million.

Parks & Wildlife Finland, which has responsibility for Metsähallitus´ public administrative tasks, almost fully achieved the targets set by the Ministries. The overall financing of Parks & Wildlife Finland increased by EUR 3.6 million, to EUR 65.4 million. Of this, EUR 50.5 million was obtained from the state budget and the remainder came from cash flow from operations and project funding.

Major decisions on protection, with a bearing on Metsähallitus, were made in 2014. A total of 13,000 hectares of Metsähallitus’ multiple-use forests were protected under the auspices of the forest biodiversity programme of Southern Finland. The national parks of Teijo and Southern Konnevesi were established, and Metsähallitus also continued preparing its proposal for a mire protection programme. This protection proposal, covering 6,000 hectares, was completed in the winter of 2015.

On account of tightened revenue recognition requirements, a record amount of forest land was sold in 2014, equalling that covered by the METSO protection programme. “This total of 26,000 hectares has permanently diminished Metsähallitus’ ability to make a profit,” Härmälä points out.

2014 was also marked by cultural values, strengthening Metsähallitus’ position as a guardian of Finnish cultural heritage. Parks & Wildlife Finland obtained custody of 29 significant cultural heritage sites, such as the ruined castles of Raasepori, Kuusisto and Kajaani and the Langinkoski imperial fishing lodge in Kotka. The cultural heritage of multiple-use forests in the forestry sector was inventoried, covering an area of 700,000 hectares.

The number of personnel employed by the Group decreased. The number of realised person-years fell by around 60 compared to the year before, to 1,752 person-years. 64% of the personnel were engaged in business activities and 36% in Parks & Wildlife Finland.

The Board of Directors proposed a total of EUR 110 million of the profits to be transferred to the state.

European Forest Owners, Managers and Professionals Welcome the International Day of Forests “Forests | Climate | Change”

“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 and professionals represented by key stakeholders of the European forest sector, EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, ELO, FECOF, UEF and USSE, welcome the declaration by the UN General Assembly of the International Day of Forests on 21 March which – in 2015 – has the theme “Forests | Climate | Change”.

Forests and trees are essential to life on Earth and human well-being. Forest ecosystems cover one third of the Earth’s land mass. In Europe, forests represent over 44 % of the land area of the continent and, apart from the traditional production of wood and other forest-based products, they provide a multitude of benefits to European societies and the environment including clean air, clean water, a home for over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, and a natural defence against a changing climate.

On the occasion of this year’s International Day of Forests, we would like to emphasize the role of active forest management in ensuring the sustainability of our forests. Sustainably managed forests not only give us environmental benefits, they also maintain sustainable economic development and growth thanks to the climate friendly and renewable raw materials they produce and the green jobs they provide. Forests contribute to the livelihood of millions of private forest owners as well as to the budgets of both communes and states.

We actively promote the sustainable and multi-functional management of Europe’s forests which contributes towards implementing the current flagship policy initiatives of the European Union such as the Europe 2020 Strategy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”, the most recent 2030 Climate and Energy Package and the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020.

A competitive forest sector helps to maintain the vitality of rural areas and prevent land abandonment and rural exodus. Therefore, we would like to stress that the successful implementation of Rural Development Programmes enables forest owners, managers and professionals to deliver sustainable and innovative products and services, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation.

We especially call for the efficient and effective implementation of the new EU Forest Strategy. We fully support the aim of the strategy to ensure that all EU forests are managed according to sustainable forest management principles and to strengthen the EU’s contribution towards reducing deforestation at global level by 2020.

The “International Day of Forests” was first established by the decision of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 November 2012. It is celebrated every year on March 21st, uniting two international commemorations: the “World Forestry Day” and “Forest Day”.

EUSTAFOR’s New President and Executive Committee Appointed

Sveaskog’s CEO Per-Olof Wedin has been elected as the new Chairman of EUSTAFOR replacing Georg Erlacher Österreichische Bundesforste AG (Austria). Next to the President, a new Executive Committee composed of representatives from Österreichische Bundesforste AG (Austria), Lesy Ćeské Republiky s.p. (Czech Repubic), Metsähallitus (Finland), Office National des Forêts (France), Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR – Vice-President (Germany), Coillte (Ireland), Lasy Państwowe (Poland) and ROMSILVA (Romania) was appointed.

EUSTAFOR is the association for European state-owned forest management organizations, who manage almost one-third of all forests in Europe, corresponding to around 30 million hectares.

“EUSTAFOR is a key platform from which to pursue, at a European level, issues relating to forests and their sustainable management. Forests are a renewable resource and have an important role to play, particularly in the transformation towards a green bio-based economy,” says Per-Olof Wedin.

EUSTAFOR’s member organisations are based in 21 countries and employ approximately 100,000 people. The purpose of the Association is to highlight the role of forests in the emerging bioeconomy and to provide the EU institutions with information about European state forests, forest management and the potential to develop the significance of forests from a social, environmental and economic perspective.

“Views about forests and forest management differ widely between the countries of the EU. But what EUSTAFOR’s members have in common is that they practice sustainable forest management which develops the multiple values of their forests such as biodiversity, recreation, renewable raw material as well as jobs and prosperity. As a Swedish representative in the role of President of EUSTAFOR I will particularly focus on the significance of forests for Europe’s climate, innovation and employment objectives,” says Per-Olof Wedin.

The appointment of Per-Olof Wedin as President of EUSTAFOR and of the Executive Committee is for 2 years.

Facts about EUSTAFOR:

Established 2006. Members are state forest management organisations from 21 European countries. These organisations manage a total of around 30 million hectares of forest area, including 13 million hectares of protected forests. They harvest nearly 123 million m3 of timber annually. EUSTAFOR’s members employ approximately 100,000 people.

Forestry Debates Kick Off in the New European Parliament

More than 60 participants attended a ‘Forest Breakfast’ at the European Parliament to discuss European forestry’s contribution to today and tomorrow’s forest-based industries in the EU.

Under the auspices of the Members of the European Parliament, Ms. Elisabeth Köstinger (AT), Chair of the Sustainable Forest Management Working Group of the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development,” and Mr. Herbert Dorfmann (IT), the Brussels-based organisations EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa-Cogeca and EFI, representing private and public forest holders and forest research, hosted a ‘Forest Breakfast’ at the European Parliament on 24 September 2014. During the event various Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and other European institutions and organisations contributed to an open discussion on how European forestry contributes to today and tomorrow’s forest- based industry in the EU.

In her welcome address, MEP Elisabeth Köstinger highlighted the economic and political relevance of the forest sector. The MEP stressed that the principle of subsidiarity and a regional approach need to be considered in every EU policy approach. Magnus Berg from SÖDRA, one of Sweden’s largest forestry cooperatives, provided some stimulating insights on how to turn theory into action by referring to an example of an integrated forestry value chain. Prior to the exchanges with the audience, the hosting organisations seized the opportunity to share some of their key considerations. In his statement, Hubert de Schorlemer, CEPF President, highlighted the need for the EU to pay particular attention to policies, which promote forestry and the forest-based sector as a key contributor to both rural development and an EU-wide and strong future-oriented economy. Juha Hakkarainen, Vice-Chairman of the Copa-Cogeca Working Party on Forestry, added that only a sustainable and competitive EU forest sector that attracts investments and innovation will be able to create growth and jobs and to overcome challenges such as climate change or the increased demand for renewable energy and commodities. A strong commitment and political support from all parties involved is needed in order to meet these challenges and the expectations of society. EUSTAFOR’s Vice-President, Per-Olof Wedin, positively recognised the new EU Forest Strategy and its principles as a guiding document for the EU forestry sector in coming years towards further implementation and enhancement of sustainable forest management (SFM) and multi-purpose forestry in EU forests. Research and innovation will be crucial for a successful development of the sector, and for this it will need support from all relevant EU policies, as pointed out by Harald Mauser from the European Forest Institute. During the open discussion the participants – representing the European Commission and other EU institutions, NGOs, forest holders, industry and research – made various contributions. Some of the experts highlighted that it is crucial to ensure sustainable use of resources, to respect the needs of society and the environment as well as to enhance the economic viability of the forest sector. Promoting forest research and innovation to adapt to new challenges, recognising the importance of certification schemes for sustainable forest management and the need to develop new markets for ecosystem services were also addressed in the debate.

MEP Herbert Dorfmann underlined the multi-functionality of forests, the complexity of ownership patterns and rights as well as the acknowledgment thereof in his closing remarks.

The ‘Forest Breakfast’ event once more highlighted the need for a coherent and stable policy framework for facilitating a sustainable forest sector that strongly contributes to the EU bioeconomy and to the protection of Europe’s natural and cultural heritage.

In cooperation with the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development”

Forest-Based Sector Launches Children’s Book During European Forest Week

“The Unexpected Forest” features adventures from Spik and Booksy in the forest – a lovely story that describes sustainable forest management and timber use without the usual facts and figures.

The four main European forest-related associations – namely the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), and the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) –together published a children book that explains in a carefully scripted story the concept of sustainable forestry and forest industries. They launched the book in four languages together with Santa Claus during the European Forest Week in his hometown Rovaniemi, Finland this week.

The charmingly illustrated booklet entitled “The Unexpected Forest” features Spik the pencil and Booksy the notebook, who go into the woods and discover the secrets of the forest. They realise they are part of a large cycle, that starts with sustainable forest management. Spik and Booksy meet with people who work in the forest and with forest products and learn that they themselves once came from the forest.

The book was written by Magali De Rijck and beautifully illustrated by Roseline d’Oreye. Published by EUSTAFOR, CEPF, CEI-Bois, and CEPI, it is already available in English, French, Swedish and German. It is meant to reach youngsters between the ages of 5-8 years old, to help educate them on the importance of forests and forest products in their daily lives.

Paper copies of this limited edition booklet are available on request.

Note to the editor

European Forest Week, 9-13 December 2013:
The European Forest Week constitutes events in Rovaniemi and throughout Europe, highlighting the contribution of forests, forest products and services to a green economy. It raises the visibility of the forest sector and the multiple services forests contribute to daily life.

The new Forest Strategy finally adopted by the Collège

On 20 September 2013 the European Commission adopted the long-awaited Communication on a new EU Forest Strategy developed for forests and the forest based sector. The document is a result of work by the Commission in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders over the past two years.

The new EU Forest Strategy replaces the existing Forestry Strategy, which dates back to 1998. The Strategy is based on the concept of sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests and, therefore, ensures a coherent and holistic approach to forest management and related policies in the European Union. It is expected to provide a coherent co-ordination framework with other policy areas, such as climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, resource efficiency and the green economy, etc., in response to the increasing demands put on forests and to significant societal and political changes that have affected forests over the recent years.

The Communication has been submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.

EUSTAFOR will continue to follow this process closely with an aim to have this important dossier adopted as soon as possible.

European Commission urged to release the EU Forest Strategy

European forest related organisations are seriously concerned that the European Commission has delayed publishing the new EU Forest Strategy. The European Commission is overlooking the importance of forests and forestry in EU policy by postponing publication of the Strategy, even though forests represent 40% of land use in Europe.

“The clock is ticking. Further delay in proposing a coherent approach on Europe’s forests can only lead to more fragmented and possibly contradictory decisions”, said Juha Hakkarainen, Chairman of the EU Advisory Group on Forestry and Cork.

Indeed it seems that the European Commission is hesitant in embracing a consistent and coherent approach on forests and forestry. The Advisory Group on Forestry and Cork, as well as Member States representatives (via the Standing Forestry Committee), recently urged the Commission to overcome the last obstacles and to release the Strategy so that it can be examined by the European Parliament and the EU Council. But no action has been taken.

The expected European Commission Communication on a new EU Forest Strategy would update and replace the existing Forestry Strategy which dates back to 1998. It would take into account the new challenges for forests and forestry policy in reference to climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, resource efficiency and the green economy and establish a coherent framework with other policy areas. Moreover, the new Strategy would be based on the concept of sustainable forest management and the mutlifunctional role of forests.

European forest sector calls for rapid and positive conclusion of INC

Joint statement by CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, EUSTAFOR, CEPI

We as representatives of the European forest sector like to thank for the very transparent and constructive process and the opportunity to pro-actively participate in the drafting of a pan-European Forest Convention – the first ever forest convention of this kind in the world.

We the resource holders and key actors along the value chain are convinced that this Convention would come at the right time, considering the increasing role that forests and forest products and services will play in future.

However, we are quite disappointed that this decisive process is not coming to a successful end at this stage, due to institutional and legal formal reasons, while most of the substantial issues have been constructively solved.

Therefore, we call on all parties’ commitment to explore rapid solutions in order to successfully present the proposal for the Convention to the Ministers as planned.

Review of the Legislation on the Marketing of Seed and Plant Propagating Material

The Commission is currently reviewing EU legislation on the marketing of seed and plant propagating material consisting of 12 basic acts. The plan is to create a common seed law, including the Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of Forest Reproductive Material (FRM). The draft Regulation has been adopted by the Commission on 6 May 2013.

The Standing Forestry Committee (SFC) rejected this effort unanimously in its joint opinion of 4 July 2012. Nevertheless, at the end of July the Commission presented a “non-paper”, in which the FRM was included as part of the new regulation. In the Council Working Party on Forests in September 2012, Member States (MS) again opposed the Commission’s plans.

The Commission’s initiative to create a common seed law and to merge eleven directives that deal with reproductive material is generally welcome and needed in agriculture. However, the situation is totally different in forestry. The existing Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of FRM meets the needs of all forest stakeholders.

CEPF and EUSTAFOR consider it very important that the review of the current EU legislation on FRM does not change the basis of the existing law. Forestry and agriculture should not be put under the same regime. There are very few common terms or rules between agriculture and forestry. The use of FRM can in no way be compared with a situation of a farmer who can change the variety of crop each year. Hence the best way to regulate the marketing of seeds and FRM is to have a specific and separate legislation, as is the case today. Legislation remains more effective when using separate instruments for agricultural and forestry issues.

Furthermore, the Commission proposes to integrate FRM into the new ‘Official Controls Regulation’ adopted 6 May 2013 and to harmonise the principles for official controls to be applied to FRM with those applied in the agriculture sector. The current ‘Official Controls Regulation’ 882/2004 is based on food health risk analysis. Even though the Regulation is planned to be adapted to the plant reproductive material used in agriculture, its scope does not seem to be proportional to the risks linked to FRM.

The current rules on the marketing of FRM aim at securing the renewal of European forests in a context of climate change, using material of which the origin is known thanks to the initial certification of the basic material at the place of harvest. It guarantees traceability and detailed information on the origin of FRM marketed in the EU. External quality requirements are defined by subsidiarity at the national level, due to varied climatic and bio-geographic conditions within the EU.

CEPF and EUSTAFOR strongly emphasise that Regulation 882/2004 is not applicable for FRM control. Extending the food industry control regulation to the control of FRM would only increase the administrative burden in Member States, without generating any added value. Moreover, the current Commission proposal will lead to an increase in costs for forest nurseries and, in the end, for forest owners and managers. The significant damage caused by the use of inappropriate FRM may appear several decades after planting and be extremely costly for forest owners and managers, the forest-based industries and the whole forest sector.

European forest and forest-based sector commits to strengthen cooperation

By signing a Memorandum of Understanding this week, the executive directors of four European associations – namely the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), and the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) – formally committed themselves to strengthen their communication and cooperation in the future.

The four organisations, representing the core of the European forest sector, have a long history of regular communication and frequent cooperation. Forestry plays a prominent role in the work of each association. The associations represent major stakeholders of the European forest resource-holding side (the forest owners) and the processing side (the forest-based industry) – embodying the key players of the entire European forest and timber value chain. All four organisations are also shareholders of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP).

The purpose of this memorandum is to formally agree

  • to regularly meet, communicate and exchange information about forest and forest-based sectors relevant topics and policy developments at EU and pan-European level and the activities of each organisation.
  • to observe risks and opportunities of non-forest and forest policies for the forest and forest-based sector at EU and pan-European level.
  • to explore options of cooperation and common activities, in particular to strengthen and promote forest and forest-based sector positions within EU and pan-European policy processes and other related initiatives.

The common principles of the forest sector core group are

  • to promote the principles of Sustainable Forest Management, and facilitate its
    implementation at all levels.
  • to promote the use of wood and resource efficiency.
  • to promote the relevance of the forest and forest-based sector in rural development and a global green economy.

New Executive Director Appointed for EUSTAFOR

The Executive Committee has appointed Mr. Piotr Borkowski as the new Executive Director of EUSTAFOR, effective September 1, 2012.

Mr. Borkowski has a long experience of forestry and forest-related policy issues, working most recently as a Policy Officer in Forestry for DG Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission. He has previously held high-level positions with – amongst others – the General Directorate of State Forests in Poland, the Liaison Unit Warsaw of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, and the Forestry Department of the Polish Ministry of the Environment.

EUSTAFOR’s members represent one third of the EU forest area, including large protected areas, and employ approximately 100.000 people. Mr. Borkowski’s main task within EUSTAFOR will be to promote the common interests of European state-owned forest management organizations, companies, enterprises, agencies and administrations. He will be responsible for supporting these organizations in their goal to strengthen economically viable yet sustainable forest management and wood production.

Following a tenure of over 3 years, the current Executive Director, Mr. Martin Lindell, will return to Sweden to meet new challenges.

EUSTAFOR has a new President!

During the European Sate Forest Association’s general assembly last week the CEO of ÖBf Austria, Dr. Georg Erlacher, was elected as EUSTAFOR’s new President. He replaces Mr. Pierre-Olivier Drège, CEO of ONF France.

“The forest is an element which unifies Europe,” stated Mr. Erlacher upon his appointment, “because in each European country there are forests. These forests are a symbol for Europe, because they do not know borders and exist independently of national state lines.”

At the same time, Mr. Hannu Jokinen, Director of Forestry at Metsähallitus Finland, was elected to be the new Vice-President.

Mr. Pascal Viné, CEO of ONF France, has joined the Executive Committee.

EUSTAFOR was established in 2006 for the purpose of protecting the interests of European State Forests. The Austrian Federal Forests were one of the four initial members. Today, the association includes 27 members from 20 European countries and represents a surface of approximately 45 million hectares, of which over a quarter covers protected areas. All members are committed to and certified for sustainable forestry management. EUSTAFOR members together employ approximately 100.000 people. The Association’s headquarters are located in the European Forestry House in Brussels.

The Assembly also adopted its policy priorities and EUSTAFOR’s working plan for 2011.

European forest owners and industries see benefits in the Forest Europe initiative on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe.

European forest owners and industries see the Forest Europe initiative for creating a legally binding agreement (LBA) as an opportunity to strengthen the Pan-European cooperation on the protection of forests and to strengthen the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM).

Growing awareness of both the protection and sustainable use of forests has been evident in the last years. The international forest debate has intensified. A number of political processes and instruments deal with forests from various perspectives, for example the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This growing attention and the numerous activities need enhancing the collaboration and coordination between processes and instruments at all levels.

We believe that a potential LBA, as discussed by the Forest Europe signatories, focusing on sustainable forest management is a particularly suitable instrument for enhanced cooperation and collaboration. It will provide opportunities for integration of measures addressing concerns on forest biodiversity, the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change as well as maintaining livelihoods in Europe and beyond.

The basis of Forest Europe is sound and very well acknowledged among the signatory countries, the scientific community, international processes such as CBD as well as among a broad range of stakeholders. European forest owner and industry organisations not only fully support the ongoing initiative on LBA but also wish for Forest Europe to remain as a leading pan-European forest policy process. By upgrading Forest Europe achievements to a legally binding instrument the whole forest sector would benefit from:

  • a strengthened compliance of the commitments by the signatories,
  • the reinforcement of implementation of SFM, safeguarding and ensuring the continuation of the multiple and important forest functions,
  • stronger balancing of the objectives that society has in relation to the multiple use of forests and the continuous development of SFM to address biodiversity and climate change in particular,
  • better, more accurate and more coordinated information concerning the forests of Europe,
  • support and guidance on how to create synergies between the implementation of national forest-related actions and programmes.
  • stronger political recognition of the forest sector which is essential to further streamline concepts for forest protection and their sustainable management in Europe and the worldwide.

We strongly support the Forest Europe development of an LBA. We believe that in the global efforts against the climate change with rising demands, the forest resources require better protection.

We call for NGOs’ active contribution in developing improved forest governance through Forest Europe, a transparent and extensive platform. We need to find joint solutions to elemental questions in the face of the present environmental and economic crisis. We have to answer society’s demands on the provision of all forest functions and to sustain nature’s capacity to deliver goods and services, which all humans depend on. We have to look realistically at the current pressures and possible solutions to share this responsibility.

EUSTAFOR’s General Assembly, 16th of April in Brussels

The European State Forest Association held its General Assembly on Thursday, 16th of April in the European Forestry House in Brussels. The Assembly, chaired by Mr Pierre-Olivier DREGE, adopted its policy priorities and the working plan for 2009.

After discussions and presentations, which included Ms Emese Kottász, from the European Commission DG Transport and Energy, who spoke about the state of play concerning the Renewable Energy Eirective, three subjects were identified as the main priorities for EUSTAFOR in 2009: 1) implementation of renewable energy strategy and associated wood mobilization, 2) developing ecosystem services and 3) the role of European forests in international climate change policy.

EUSTAFOR’s members agreed to work together especially concerning the renewable energy national action plans, which the Member States’ governments have to submit to the European Commission by June 2010. EUSTAFOR’s members also reconfirmed their commitment to contribute to climate change mitigation and to co-operate in meeting the challenges of adaptating Europe’s forests to a changing climate..

EUSTAFOR’s first executive director Mr Erik KOSENKRANIUS who is returning to Estonia was warmly thanked for his service and the new executive director Mr Martin LINDELL from Sweden was welcomed to take over the lead of the Association from the 1st of May 2009.

EUSTAFOR was established in 2006 and currently has 28 members from 21 European countries. EUSTAFOR’s task is to analyze and investigate the existing framework conditions within the EU, in order to create the preconditions for sustainable management of state forests in Europe.

The goal of EUSTAFOR is to promote the common interest of state forests in Europe in the scope of their sustainable development. The Association supports and strengthens state forest organizations in Europe to maintain and enhance an economically viable, socially beneficial, culturally valuable and ecologically responsible sustainable forest management.

EUSTAFOR’s members are together managing ~46 million ha of forest, The annual increment totals ~155 million m3 and the annual harvest was 111 million m3 in 2008. EUSTAFOR’s members have ~111 300 employees.

European forestry owners say “choose sustainable timber to tackle climate change”

At the beginning of first ever European Forestry Week, the European forest owners’ organizations call on decision makers, business leaders and the public to recognize forestry as a key sector in combating climate change.

European forests grow over 770 million cubic meters per year and absorb at same time the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. This offsets around 10% of the EU’s total annual carbon emissions. Harvested wood and wood products can replace carbon intensive materials which have an unfavorable impact on the climate.

The forestry sector however can provide more. There is a lot of unused potential in the benefits that European forests provide. Forests cover over one third of land area of Europe and continue to expand. At the same time only 60% of the annual growth of EU forest is harvested.

Mr. Thoroe, the secretary general of CEPF, addresses the essence of this problem
curbing deforestation and illegal logging in tropical countries is key to both mitigating climate change as well as gaining an overall positive image on the multiple values of forests on a global scale. We should encourage the consumers to use of all kinds of wood products and assure politicians on the merits of wood in order to avoid possible counterproductive regulations.”

“Promotion of renewable wood has to be at the forefront in the sustainable development of our Union” added Mr. Pesonen, secretary general of COPA- COGECA.

Mr. Kosenkranius, executive director of EUSTAFOR, sees many positive roles for forestry in addition to carbon sequestration – for example clean drinking water, clean air and protection of human settlements against natural hazards.

“At the same time we all need to understand that adapting sustainable forest management to the changing climate is the key issue for protecting forests themselves against natural disasters” says Mr. Näräkkä from the Bureau of Nordic Family Forestry.

The European Forestry sector is ready to contribute to the big challenges of the future. But in order to do this the sector needs more political recognition as well as a wider understanding by society of the benefits it can bring to citizens.
Therefore representatives of European Forest Owners’ organizations call on:

  • European citizens to choose wood and wood based products whenever
  • Business to invest for a carbon free economy and to contribute to forestry
  • European politicians to commit themselves to the Ministerial Conference on
    the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) as the leading high-level political process for developing sustainable forest management in Europe.

The initiative of European Forestry Week was welcomed in 2007 by 46 signatory countries of MCPFE together with many stakeholders. European Forest Owners are actively contributing to the initiative and see this event as a great opportunity to increase public awareness of the benefits which the European Forestry can offer.