Ukrainian Foresters and Communities Collaborate in the Forest Recovery Program

Last year, EUSTAFOR membership was expanded with Ukraine joining as its newest member. The State Specialized Forest Enterprise “Forests of Ukraine” joined EUSTAFOR as part of the strategy for an advanced European cooperation. Furthermore, EUSTAFOR is grateful to have had the opportunity to assist the Ukrainian foresters  in their most recent forest restoration project, in which Forest Europe is a partner as well.

In a significant environmental endeavor, nearly fifty territorial communities have emerged as winners of the Forest Recovery program, an international initiative launched this fall by the State Specialized Forest Enterprise “Forests of Ukraine” (hereinafter referred to as SFE “Forests of Ukraine’). This program symbolizes a concerted effort to preserve and revitalize natural forests across the nation. Foresters, in a symbolic gesture, awarded diplomas to the winners and engaged in planting greenery in community areas.

The core aim of the Forest Recovery program is to save the naturally afforested areas on community lands, which were previously at risk of destruction. Through effective mechanisms, now these forests can be saved.

Yurii Bolokhovets, Director General of SFE “Forests of Ukraine,” highlights the broader vision of the project. “Our global task transcends mere preservation of these forests; we aspire to unify individuals and foster an environmental community nationwide,” he explains.

The process of transferring forests from community to SFE “Forests of Ukraine is entirely voluntary, emphasizing the growing awareness of the importance of conserving natural resources. Serhii Titarenko, head of the Dashivska village community and one of the project winners, shares their perspective: “Our commitment extends beyond mere settlement orderliness to encompass ecosystem stewardship. By entrusting these forests to qualified foresters, we are confident in their preservation and expansion.” Titarenko underlines the community’s environmental priorities over the desire for recognition.

Mr Titarenko (R), head of Dashivska community, receives the Forest Recovery certificate

SFE “Forests of Ukraine” is dedicated to strengthening the bond between foresters and communities. This commitment is evident in its efforts to create recreational spaces, develop forest road networks for better logistics, respond promptly to forest fires, and ensure the provision of firewood to the social sector and local residents.

The Forest Recovery project is a testament to the power of collaboration in environmental conservation. The timing of this international forest restoration project goes well with the European Council announcement regarding open negotiations on Ukrainian EU membership, and the Nature Restoration Law that is close to being adopted. Hopefully these developments will lead to even better project results and a strengthened Ukrainian forestry sector. With continued cooperation, SFE “Forests of Ukraine” looks forward to a future where their restoration efforts yield even greater benefits for the environment and the communities.

 

 

 

Published 22/12/2023, Brussels

Mr. Roberto Stelstra

Communications & Policy Officer

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