How to afforest for the future?

On 30 March 2017, in Brussels, the European Commission (DG AGRI) held a Workshop on “Afforestation and Land Use Change in the EU in a changing climate – How to afforest for the future?”

The importance of forests in facing the challenges of climate change and the acknowledgement of the role of carbon sinks, including forests, in the Paris Agreement, urge towards a better understanding on how best to foster afforestation.

The Paris Agreement reached at COP21 (UNFCCC) stresses the importance of carbon sinks in view of achieving, among others, a balance between emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases by the second half of this century. The EU has committed to reducing its domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, including for the first time Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The EU LULUCF sector has been contributing to climate mitigation not only by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but also by providing bio-materials that can store carbon and replace fossil raw materials.

While the contribution of the forest sector to climate mitigation and adaptation, bioenergy, bio-based economy, prevention of floods and desertification has been well acknowledged, the level of afforestation in the EU during the last decades has been decreasing. Whereas about one million hectares of agricultural land were afforested in the EU 15 during the period 1994–1999, approximately 700 thousand hectares between 2000 and 2007. The recently closed rural development (RD) programs for the period 2007-2013 contributed an additional 300 thousand hectares of forest in the EU 27 by the end 2015. The new allocation in the RD programs for 2014-2020 for the 28 Member States foresees approximately 510 thousand hectares of new afforestation.

42 workshop’s participants, representing a wide range of backgrounds and institutions from both the MS and the European Commission, concentrated their discussions around the following issues:

  • Current and future climate change challenges faced by forests (adaptation and mitigation needs)
  • Land use change; Afforestation and deforestation in the EU – Trends /demands / climatic conditions influencing land use changes;
  • Multifunctional afforestation (soil and water management, biodiversity, biomass, carbon sequestration, job creation, recreation, etc.) and trade-offs between ecosystem services
  • Practical implications; how should species or provenances selection be guided in the coming years?
  • Afforestation from the perspective of land owners and project management;
  • Obstacles / barriers for the implementation of forestry measures and afforestation (management, control, policy aspects);
  • Good and innovative examples and practices from MSs and research projects;
  • Policy recommendations, knowledge gaps and new research

The presentations and other relevant documents are available from this page.

 

In Geneva about Forests

The Joint Working Party took place from 29-31 March 2017 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. The Working Party is a subsidiary body set up under the auspices of the UNECE Committee on Forests and Forest Industries (COFFI) and FAO European Forestry Commission) that discusses activities undertaken by the Joint Section and provides guidance on future activities.

The main discussion was on the Strategic Review of the Integrated Programme of Work for the ECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission, including an interactive group work with the Teams of Specialists to revise their terms of reference and their potential contributions to the next Integrated Programme of Work. Other issues discussed during the 2017 session were:  the initial results of the Joint Wood Energy Enquiry (JWEE) 2015 and an update on the publication on wood energy, update on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international policy processes with an impact on forests and the reports from the Teams of Specialists (TOS). The latter operate in the areas of:

  • Data, monitoring and assessment – TOS Monitoring Sustainable Forest Management, Sustainable Forest Products, Forest Products Statistics, Wood Energy
  • Policy dialogue and advice – TOS Forest Policy, Forest Sector Outlook,
  • Communication and outreach – TOS Forest Communication – Forest Communicators’ Network
  • Capacity-building – TOS Green Jobs in the Forest Sector

Prior to the working party session, three Teams of Specialists meetings,  Sustainable Forest ProductsForest Products Statistics and Forest Policy, took place in parallel on 28 March 2017. Roland Kautz (Austria/ÖBf) and Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director, participated in the 3rd Meeting of the ToS on Forest Policy. Substantial discussions took place on the mandate, objectives, future role and functioning of this group.

PEFC Standard Revision – public consultation

PEFC invites to comment on the revised Standard Setting standard – PEFC ST 1001:201X.

This standard sets the rules for national standard development and revision. Core principles of the standard development are stakeholder engagement, balanced representation of different interests, consensus building, continuous improvement and transparency.

 

The revised document introduces improvements to the standard setting itself, including:

  • Inclusion of the nine major stakeholder groups of Agenda 21 (UNCED)
  • Increased effort to get key stakeholders around the table
  • Additional rounds of public consultation

 

 

Sustainably managed forests are a proven source of sustainable biomass for bioenergy

The new joint Position Paper “Sustainably managed forests are a proven source of sustainable biomass for bioenergy” by EUSTAFOR, CEPF, COPA and COGECA, UEF, FECOF, and USSE presents the perspectives of forest owners, managers and professionals about sustainability sourcing biomass in relation to the European Commission Proposal on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RED recast).
President Juncker’s Commission aims to create better regulation, reduce redtape and focus efforts on ensuring effective implementation. With these principles in mind, the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive aims to promote the use of energy from renewable resources and decarbonize the EU. 
The proposal recognizes the role of Sustainable Forest Management and it suggests using a risk-based approach that builds on existing legislation and tools to assess the sustainability of forest biomass, where requirements related to forest management, LULUCF accounting and GHG emission savings are identified. European forest owners, managers and professionals are concerned that the proposed sustainability system for forest biomass risks becoming an impediment to reaching the EU targets to decarbonize the energy sector and might also hinder the possibility of delivering biomass to the market.
Forest owners, managers and professionals invite the EU policy and decision makers to first look at the implementation of existing European and national policies and regulations, which ensure the sustainability of forest biomass sourcing, before taking any action on developing a new regulatory framework with additional, unnecessary burdens.
While recognizing that the proposal acknowledges the existing legislation on forests and forest management at EU and Member State levels, forest owners, managers and professionals strongly consider that interference of the new framework on already-existing legislation and tools should be avoided. If for any reason, such as the necessity to ensure the sustainability of imported biomass, the determination towards regulating the sustainability of forest biomass in the EU bioenergy policy post-2020 continues, a modified risk-based approach is an option if already-existing requirements in the EU and national legislations are taken into account and there is no duplication or unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Latest news from European Parliament and Council about the LULUCF proposal – Joint letter from the forest-based sector to to Members of Parliament and Council

The Commission proposal on the inclusion of land use, land use change and forestry into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework (LULUCF) is currently under discussion at the Parliament. The Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is a leading Committee and MEP Norbert Lins (DE/EPP) was nominated as Rapporteur.

On 4 May 2017, EUSTAFOR, CEPF, CEPI and CEi-Bois have distributed a joint letter to MEPs with comments to the draft rapporteur report in order to highlight the importance of reconsider the Commission criteria for establishing the forest reference levels by bearing in mind the potential long-term benefits from sustainably managed forests and harvested wood products. A similar letter has been distributed to Members of the Council.

The final voting in the COM ENVI about the Amendments to the Commission Proposal will take place on 22 June 2017. By that time, Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Agricolture and Rural Development (AGRI) Committees will give their Opinions (the vote on the amendments to rapporteur MEP Marisa Matias (PT/GUE-NGL) for the ITRE Committee will take place on 30 May 2017).

At the same time, the European Council is discussing the proposal. As mentioned in a previous report from the EUSTAFOR.EXPRESS.62 there is different point of views in the Council. Recently, a non-paper from the Commission as well as two documents signed by two different groups of countries has been leaked. The non-paper from the Commission reports about possible hot-air mechanisms in calculating the Forest Reference Levels. Please note that EUSTAFOR position while asking for more recognition of policy, opposes the creation to such mechanisms. The other two documents present diverging directions:

  • In a letter it is stated that Ministers from Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Finland “believe that forest reference levels should not be bound by the past intensity of forest management practice. The letter asks for more recognition of the role of forestry for climate change mitigation.
  • In a non-paper by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom it is stated that the forest reference levels of Member States must be based on historic and verifiable data – i.e. the continuation of documented forest management practice in a meaningful reference period combined with the anticipated forest structure in the future compliance period.

EUSTAFOR position states that “the European Commission proposals take an overly conservative approach in terms of LULUCF accounting and significantly limit the use of the climate change mitigation potential of forest management activities. The proposed legislation does not incentivize additional activities which could increase carbon removals but rather promotes maintaining existing carbon stock and discourages substitution. It will thus have indiscriminate or even negative influences on the development of the forest sector, especially state-owned forests.”

Juha Mäkinen appointed as Communication Director of EUSTAFOR

PRESS RELEASE

Juha Mäkinen has been appointed as Communication Director of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) starting 10 April 2017 for a period of three years.

Mr. Mäkinen currently works as Communication Director at the Finnish State Forest Enterprise, Metsähallitus. He has also chaired the EUSTAFOR Communicators Network since 2014.

For more information please contact:

Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director
piotr.borkowski@eustafor.eu,  +32 (0)2 239 23 04

Juha Mäkinen, Communication Director
juha.makinen@metsa.fi, +358 40 570 9307

 

Juha Mäkinen
Juha Mäkinen

 

The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) represents state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The Association currently has 33 members in 22 European countries. EUSTAFOR members manage around one third of the EU forest area. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 130 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals. Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available knowledge and professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.

 

EUSTAFOR reaches 33 members, welcoming the Northern Ireland Forest Service, and other updates from the latest ExCom meeting

The latest EUSTAFOR Executive Committee Meeting was held on 20 March 2017 at the European Forestry House in Brussels.

The ExCom was pleased to accept the Northern Ireland Forest Service as a new “Associated Member of Category B” as of 1 January 2017. EUSTAFOR now has 33 members from 22 countries.

The main work of the ExCom was the approval of the documents for the GA to take place the following day and a broad review of current developments in Brussels, especially concerning the finalization of the joint position paper, referred to as the “RED Recast JPP,” in partnership with CEPF, Copa & Cogeca, FECOF, USSE and UEF and the apparently favorable reception by policy makers of EUSTAFOR’s second position paper in which the internal WG on Climate Change elaborated a list of amendments to the Commission’s proposal on EU climate change policy post-2020, including LULUCF.

Metsähallitus made a proposal for the secondment of Juha Mäkinen, Communication Director in Metsähallitus, to EUSTAFOR. The ExCom confirmed their support, in principle, of the idea to reinforce the Brussels Office advocacy and communications staff. An Associate from Sveaskog, Sara Osth, will join the team for 6 months as of 1 September 2017.

Ciprian Pahonţu and Octavian Anghel (ROMSILVA) updated the ExCom concerning the upcoming European State Forest Conference in Poiana Braşov.

The minutes and further information are available at this link.

State forests represented at stakeholder workshop on bio- and circular economies

The Stakeholder workshop on “Circular economy and bio-economy – synergies and challenges” was organized by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) on 30-31 March 2017, in Copenhagen, Denmark. State forests were represented by Salvatore Martire (EUSTAFOR Executive Office) and Martin Lindell (Sveaskog, Sweden).

The objectives of the workshop were to examine the relations between the circular economy and bioeconomy, take stock of the current situation, including EU level policies, identify possible synergies and challenges on the basis of case studies, gather ideas and input for the EEA’s report on the bio- and circular economies.

It was a good opportunity to get an overview of the wide spectrum of stakeholders interested in the field while, at the same time, learn about concrete examples and innovations in various fields of the bio- and circular economies.

The workshop focused mainly on future opportunities and challenges than on actual policy developments. However, this provided an opportunity to highlight EUSTAFOR’s perspective and vision as regards the key role of forestry in the bioeconomy, as well as how forests and forestry can contribute to a circular economy. The meeting was also an opportunity to further foster networking and cooperation with Commission representatives and stakeholders.

Forest Fire Seminar organized by ONF (Aix-en-Provence, France) – Last places available

ONF is pleased to invite the State Forest Management Organisations,
members of EUSTAFOR network,
to a Forest Fire Workshop 25- 27 April 2017
which will take place in the area of Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France.

The seminar on “Forest Fires, a growing risk due to Climate Change” will include a field trip and conference with speakers from EUSTAFOR, French research centers and Canada.

All documents and most updated information can be downloaded from this page.

A follow-up of the seminar is available at this page.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Pauline Camus (pauline.camus@onf.fr – TEL +33 (0)1 40 19 58 79).

EUSTAFOR is a strategic partner of Forest City Project 2017 which kicked off at the Value of Wood Forum on 21 March 2017 where EUSTAFOR’s President gave a keynote address

#ForestCityProject 2017 is a public information campaign and exhibition launched on the International Day of Forests (21 March 2017) and to be displayed in the European Quarter through 5 June 2017 (World Environment Day). EUSTAFOR is a strategic partner of this project, organized together with Revolve Media, the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry (EOS), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP).

The initiative provides an excellent opportunity to show how forests and their products contribute not only to our daily lives, but how they are also helping society to face global challenges such as climate change and the need for more sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Panel
EUSTAFOR Panel at the Forest City Project 2017 – From early April 2017 in Parc du Cinquantenaire (Brussels)

Read REVOLVE Magazine Spring 2017 Issues – EUSTAFOR views included

Read Questions and Answers with EUSTAFOR President Per-Olof Wedin on “How State Forests Boost the Bioeconomy”

Download “The Climate Value of Forestry” – EUSTAFOR Contribution to REVOLVE Magazine Spring 2017 Issues

 

The Value of Wood Forum on the International Day of Forests – 21 March 2017

Materials from the event The Value of Wood Forum in the context of the Forest City Project that was held in Brussels on the International Day of Forests (21 March 2017) are available below.

Agenda

15:00 Opening speech Mr. Simon Kay, Senior Expert, Land Use and Finance for innovation, DG CLIMA, contextualizing LULUCF legislation within forest-based solutions for the bio-economy and jobs.

15:30 Panel 1: Towards Sustainable Architecture & Construction How can timber, wood-based products and other bio-based materials add value to the durability of buildings and the resilience of cities while bringing down CO2 emissions? How to make our urban fabric more sustainable? Presented and moderated by S&D MEP Paul Brannen

Andrew Waugh, co-founder of WaughThistleton Architects firm: timber in architecture

Sampsa Auvinen, EOS President and CEO of Norvik Timber Industries: on building with wood

Gerard Deroubaix, Director of the Environment department in the French research centre FCBA: Reducing CO2 in building using wood products

Justin Daerden, President of the EFBWW Standing Committee Wood/Furniture/Forestry

16:30 Keynote speech by Per-Olof Wedin, President of EUSTAFOR, on how forests are boosting the bioeconomy

16:45 Panel 2: Forests boost Innovation and the Bio-economy The bio-economy is central to combating climate change and safeguarding ecosystems. What services, technologies and industries in the forest-based sector are boosting the bio-economy? How is the bio-economy advancing the triple bottom-line of sustainability for society, environment, business? Presented and moderated by EPP MEP Henna Virkunnen

Thorsten Arndt, Head of Communications, PEFC International

Patrick Worms, Senior Science Policy Advisor, World Agroforestry Centre

Johan Elvnert, Managing Director, Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP)

Fanny-Pomme Langue, Public Affairs Director, European Biomass Association (AEBIOM)

Alberto Arroyo, Senior Policy Manager, European Affairs Office, IUCN

17:45 Closing remarks by Mr. Jeremy Wall, Principal Administrator, Forest-based & Related Industries, DG GROW, on the forest-based bioeconomy and EU sustainable growth

18:00 Cocktail Reception

#ForestCityProject

EUSTAFOR presents at the Standing Committee on Forestry of CEETTAR

The Standing Committee on Forestry of the European Organisation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors (CEETTAR) was held last 29 March 2017.

CETTAR, established in 1961, represents about 150 000 companies and nearly 600 000 workers. It aims to represent the interests of land-based contractors in Europe. In 2014, the European Network of Forestry Entrepreneurs (ENFE) decided to merge with CEETTAR, resulting in a stronger organization representing all land-based contractors at EU level.

Salvatore Martire, from the Executive Office, gave a presentation about EUSTAFOR and its positions on current policy developments with a focus on EU climate and energy policy. The presentation provoked an interesting exchange of views on EUSTAFOR’s positions on the LULUCF Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive (recast) , which were welcomed by CEETTAR representatives. Consequently, EUSTAFOR was invited to cooperate more closely with CETTAR in future.