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EU policies should better recognise multiple forestry values policymakers and stakeholders told

EU policies should better recognise multiple forestry values, policymakers and stakeholders were told at a seminar in Brussels held in conjunction with the 12th General Assembly of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR). The representatives of chief executives of European State Forest Management Organizations discussed with policymakers and stakeholders about the importance of multifunctional forestry as a public good and how to ensure the provision of forest ecosystem services.

A panel discussion with Ciarán Fallon (left), Coillte (Ireland); Miranda Winram, Forestry Commission (England); Humberto Delgado Rosa, DG ENVI; Ignacio Seoane, DG AGRI and Johan Elvnert (FTP) during the EUSTAFOR “Value Forestry Values” seminar February 27 in Brussels, Belgium (photo courtesy EUSTAFOR).

An open seminar with policymakers and stakeholders entitled “Value Forestry Values” was held on February 27, back to back with the 12th General Assembly of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR). The aim of the seminar was to foster dialogue between policy, practice and research & innovation on the options for coherent policies and managerial opportunities, which can boost innovation and attract investments in the sector while taking full advantage of the multiple goods and services that forests provide.

The delivery of multiple forest services requires a sound economic basis. We are deeply convinced that a strong forest-based bioeconomy needs to encompass the ecosystem management dimension, and properly value the provision of wood and other forest services, stated Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.

The seminar was well attended by EU policymakers and stakeholders. Key presentations were delivered by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, European Parliament; Ignacio Seoane, DG AGRI; Humberto Delgado Rosa, DG ENVI; Miranda Winram, Forestry Commission (England) and Johan Elvnert, Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP).

The presentations were followed by an interactive panel discussion, including representatives of IUCN and Coillte (State Forest Organization, Ireland), on the Natural Capital of forest management organizations. Participants had the opportunity to interact on how to set a value on the ecosystem services provided by forests for the needs of society.

According to EUSTAFOR, EU policies, such as the ones related to Bioeconomy and Rural Development, should better recognize the ecosystem management dimension. At the same time, environmental policies need to clearly recognize the multifunctionality of sustainable forest management.

Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area and provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials as well as essential ecosystem services. On the one hand, the provision of many ecosystem services from forests is not always recognized and properly valued.

On the other hand, the production of wood, which is a predominant source of income in forestry, is often considered as a trade-off for other essential ecosystem services. State Forest Management Organizations constantly seek to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions by taking care of the common good, which forests represent.

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