CASCADES Study (Study on the optimised cascading use of wood ) published

The Study on the optimised cascading use of wood commissioned and funded by the European Commission is now available for free download in the EU online bookshop.

The objectives of the study are to define the cascading use of wood and assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of cascading, to identify and analyse the barriers preventing cascading and the possible measures adapted to local conditions to overcome them in the European Union (EU). The results of the study are intended to serve as a basis to develop good practice guidance on the cascading use of wood to policy-makers and value-chain stakeholders.

Cascading use is the efficient utilisation of resources by using residues and recycled materials for material use to extend total biomass availability within a given system. Cascading at the market level (sectors and products) can be quantified through wood flow analysis. The cascading use of wood takes place in the EU in a variety of forms and contexts. Identified measures to promote the cascading use of wood focus largely on the recovery of post-consumer wood in line with existing circular economy and resource efficiency initiatives. However, strong efforts are needed to address the current imbalance between material and energy uses of industrial residues where more significant potential for cascading exists.

Filling knowledge gaps to sustain future forestry

Sustaining the growing demand for wood products and other forest services is becoming increasingly difficult due to the likes of climate change, pests and diseases affecting European forests. Despite its continued efforts to support , the forestry sector still has much learning to do

owhen it comes to tree genetics and physical environment, basic wood properties and their impact on end-product quality, as well as know-how to bring studies from individual to forest scale. Whilst the much needed data and expertise do exist, they are currently scattered across various disciplines with no effective means to cross-fertilise them.

The TREES4FUTURE (Designing Trees for the future) project has undertaken a task of  bridging these gaps by providing a holistic approach to forestry that integrates abiotic and biotic environmental aspects through biological responses, biomass production and industrial technology.

Ahead of the publication of a final report, you may read about the project outcomes in an interview with Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Professor of European Forest Resources at Wageningen University and vice-coordinator of TREES4FUTURE project, at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-knowledge-gaps-sustain-future-forestry.html#jCp

Package on driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy published

On July 20th, 2016 the European Commission presented a package of measures to accelerate a shift towards low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the European economy.

The package is a part of the Energy Union and a forward-looking Climate Change policy of the European Union, one of the key priorities of the Juncker’s Commission. It consists of the Proposal on how to integrate the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework (see fact sheet) and also newly proposed Effort Sharing proposal on national emissions targets for all other sectors not covered by the EU ETS (see fact sheet).

Alongside the LULUCF and effort sharing proposals, the Commission also presented a Strategy on low-emission mobility  setting the course for the development of EU-wide measures on low and zero-emission vehicles and alternative low-emissions fuels. Together with last year’s proposal for the revision of the EU Emission Trading System (ETS), the package will contribute to the achievement of the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

As explained by the Commission, the new regulatory framework is based on the key principles of fairness, solidarity, flexibility and environmental integrity.

Prior to the publication of the Commission’s package, EUSTAFOR published its Position paper on the same issue, which claims 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. For EUSTAFOR and its member organisations 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.

The presented Commission proposals will be subject of considerations of the recently re-launched EUSTAFOR’s internal Working Group on Climate Change.

More information is available under this link.

BREXIT: The Possible Impact on the Sawmill and Wood Working Industries

European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) published a brief analysis of  already known facts and their possible implications of Brexit to forestry and the wood working industries. EOS Member, CONFOR, has pledged to continue to provide strong leadership for the forestry and timber sector after Brexit and to work with respective structures of the UK Government to deliver the best possible outcome for the industries. CONFOR has issued a detailed paper on the implications of Brexit for its members. The document examines the key issues which are likely to impact most on the sector as soon as the UK enters into the negotiations on its leave from the European Union.

Read more in the attached PDF and on EOS website.

Governments Reclaiming Role in Forest Certification

Many governments are reclaiming a role that had been pretty well ceded to ENGOs and other private organizations over the past few decades – state governance of forest certification.

According to the authors of From governance to government: The strengthened role of state bureaucracies in forest and agricultural certification, this has become more noticeable following the recent rise of state-driven schemes for certifying timber legality as well as palm oil production in places such as Indonesia.

Their report sums up findings from a variety of recent studies and suggests, they say, that public administrations are beginning to reclaim certification authority through state-led mandatory schemes as part of a trend away from “transnational private governance to international state-driven governance.”

Read the whole article in IUFRO Spotlight No 39.

 

New Research on Storm Damage to Forests

European Forest Institute (EFI) has published a new issue of its “What Science Can Tell Us” series addressing Living with Storm Damage to Forests.

Windstorms are a major disturbance factor for European forests. In the past six decades wind storms have damaged standing forest volume, which on a yearly average equals about the size of Poland’s annual fellings. The ev- idence also indicates that the actual severity of storms in the wake of climatic changes may increase during the next decades.

Windstorm damages have many environmental, economic and social implications. Therefore, it is important to try to prevent these damages, and better manage those which are unavoidable. To do so,  forest managers need to better understand the many- sided impacts of windstorm to European forests and the possible actions which help to minimize the occurrences of forest damage.

The European Forest Institute (EFI) is in the process of investigating the role of a European Forest Risk Facility Network, which would address the major potential disturbances for European forests, and provide support through scientific information and analyses that will help to prevent, control and manage these disturbances. The study provides a helpful background by addressing one important risk factor. It also sets an example of a quality study, which could work as a role model for similar studies to be produced by such a Facility in the future.

EUSTAFOR enhances its internal activities

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

forest fire fighting demo-min

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.

Joint Press Release: World Forest Week 2016

large_COFO_WEBCAST_THUMBNAIL_TEMPLATEEU 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.

Emma Berglund
Secretary General
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)

Pekka Pesonen
Secretary General
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca)

Thierry de l’Escaille
Secretary General
European Landowners’ Organization (ELO)

Piotr Borkowski
Executive Director
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)

Leire Salaberria
Executive President
Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE)

For further information, please contact:

CEPF – Confederation of European Forest Owners
Contact: Emma Berglund, emma.berglund@cepf-eu.org, www.cepf-eu.org

COPA and COGECA – European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives
Contact: Amanda Cheesley, amanda.cheesley@copa-cogeca.eu, www.copa-cogeca.eu

ELO – European Landowners’ Organization
Contact: Ana Rocha, ana.rocha@elo.org, www.europeanlandowners.org

EUSTAFOR – European State Forest Association
Contact: Piotr Borkowski, piotr.borkowski@eustafor.eu, www.eustafor.eu

USSE Union of Foresters of Southern Europe
Contact: Leire Salaberria Isasi, lsalaberria@usse-eu.org, www.usse-eu.org

 

More than EUR 125 million of EU funding to go towards the forest-based sector

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 NewsForest based sector in H2020 2015

FTP launches new prioritization process

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.

Does climate change provide a moment for forests and sustainable forest management?

Picture_USSE Seminar on climate change-min“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.

EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel relaunched

bioeconomy_graphic_full compressedThe 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.

 

Dear Reader of the eustafor.express!

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 piotr.borkowski@eustafor.eu 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!

Piotr Borkowski
Executive Director

Piotr Borkowski

EUSTAFOR Published a Positions Paper on the on the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives and Its Implementation in State Forests

Arad Forests_Romania2The 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.

Investments in Forestry and Wood Processing in South-East European Countries

IMG_3945-minEUSTAFOR actively participated at the annual conference organised by the Croatian Wood Cluster on 13 July 2016 in Brussels. The headline of the conference was how to encourage the investments in forestry and wood processing in South-East European Countries. The Conference was organised under the auspices of MEP Marijana Petir (HR) and gathered broad representation of policy makers, forest managers and professional, forest-based industry representatives and other stakeholders.  Piotr Borkowski represented EUSTAFOR at this event and delivered a presentation “Management of Forests in EU: Current Trends & Challenges Ahead”, based on the experience of state forest management organisations(SFMOs).

IMG_3917Prior to the Conference, EUSTAFOR hosted a visit of Balkan foresters and representatives of the Croatian Wood Cluster in the European Forestry House and explained in detail the objectives and work modalities of our association. Representatives of the Public Forest Enterprise “Forests of the Republic of Srpska” in Bosnia i Herzegovina were invited to closer co-operate with EUSTAFOR.

EUSTAFOR Publishes Position Paper on the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives and Their Implementation in State Forests

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 DirArad Forests_Romania2ectives 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.

 

For further information please contact the EUSTAFOR office (office@eustafor.eu) or consult our website at www.eustafor.eu.

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. 

European State Forest Conference 2016: “Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy”

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.”

FSC_2016_England_071-minThe 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.

DSC_1913-minExtensive grazing by Galloway cattle provides biodiversity benefits and promotes tree regeneration in woodlands by breaking up vegetation mats.

European State Forest Conference 2016: “Forest Management for People, Nature and Economy”

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.”
FSC_2016_England_243-min

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.
FSC_2016_England_003-min

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.
FSC_2016_England_174-min

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.
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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.
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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!

EUSTAFOR Publishes 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?

Croatian forest (LULUCF Press Release)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.

 

For further information please contact the EUSTAFOR office (office@eustafor.eu) or consult our website www.eustafor.eu.

 

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. 

 

 

How Could the Brexit Influence European Forest and Environment Policies?

Britain and European Union flags on attached puzzle parts

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.

“Beyond Wood” – a European Commission Policy Conference tackling forest ecosystem services

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?

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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.