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The EuroForest Portal news service covers items of direct interest to the forest and forest products sector, and also items of more general environmental interest. The geographic scope for news items is generally the European (or sub-region of Europe) level, but items of global, national and sub-national interest may also be noticed. In general, announcements of events are not noticed (exceptions are made for events of international importance).

GFIS - Global Forest Information Service. GFIS is a collaborative initiative that allows sharing of forest-related information through a single gateway. The information resources accessible through GFIS are freely available, and provide direct access to the original information.

EFI press releases - News items about European forest research related issues and about EFI activities.

EFI events calendar - Information on upcoming and past events of EFI and other organisations, and links to other forest-related event calendars.

Maximising the environmental benefits of Europe's bioenergy potential
Nov 17, 2008

Bioenergy can substantially reduce Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to achieving the EU's renewable energy target, says a new report by the European Environment Agency. Such benefits, however, can only be realised if policy and economic incentives are in place to minimise the potential negative impacts of bioenergy production. The report Maximising the environmental benefits of Europe's bioenergy potential analyses what bioenergy can offer Europe in terms of climate mitigation and energy security and what role it can play in Europe's future energy mix. The report quantifies the benefits to be gained through the optimal use of the EU's domestic bioenergy potential. It is based on the 2006 EEA report - How much bioenergy can Europe produce without harming the environment?

EEA press release

EEA Technical Report No 10

UNFF appoints new director
Nov 13, 2008

Ms. Jan McAlpine was appointed to the post of the Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat on 5 November 2008.

UNFF press release

Boreal vegetation to be mapped for the first time
Nov 13, 2008

The first workshop of the CircumBoreal Vegetation Mapping (CBVM) project was held in Helsinki on 3-6 November, 2008. The workshop attracted 47 scientists from ten countries across the boreal regions, mainly from Russia, North America, and Nordic countries.

The CBVM project aims to map the vegetation of the complete boreal biome using a uniform methodology for the first time. There are already various maps of the boreal biome, but they do not use a common method for classifying and mapping boreal vegetation. The map will be developed by using existing maps, the most recent data, and remote sensing and GIS-tools. Thematic teams on bioclimatic framework, base map definition, and common legend development will present the results of their work at the next meeting in Russia in 2010. The final products, a circumboreal map of vegetation and database describing the vegetation in detail, are expected to be published in 2016.

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) press release

CBVM project webpage

Summary of the 44th session of the International Tropical Timber Council
Nov 11, 2008

The forty-fourth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-44) took place from 3-8 November 2008, in Yokohama, Japan. Delegates discussed issues concerning operational, project and policy work for 2008-2009, including, inter alia: Thematic Programmes; the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Biennial Work Programme for 2008-2009, ITTO Objective 2000, and the ITTO Action Plan.

ITTC-44 summary report

ICP Forests Executive and Technical Reports 2008
Oct 31, 2008

ICP Forests (the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests) have published the annual Executive and Technical Reports for 2008. ICP Forests monitors the forest condition in Europe in cooperation with the European Union. The annual Executive Report provides a summary of the main findings of the transnational survey for the year 2007. The Technical Report of ICP Forests addresses scientists and experts and presents detailed results of the transnational survey, and also results of individual studies of the intensive monitoring data made available by the year 2005.

ICP Forests Executive Report 2008

ICP Forests Technical Report 2008

Commission approves €186 million for 143 new LIFE+ projects
Oct 29, 2008

The European Commission has approved funding for 143 new projects under the first call for the LIFE+ programme (2007-2013), the European fund for the environment. The projects are from across the EU and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, and information and communication. Overall, they represent a total investment of €367 million, of which the EU will provide €186 million.

Following the first call under the LIFE+ programme, the Commission received over 700 proposals from public or private bodies from the 27 EU Member States. Of these, 143 were selected for co-funding through the new programme’s three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance and LIFE+ Information and Communication. An overview (project title and statement) of the 143 LIFE+ projects by country is presented in the press release.

EC press release

ESA leads the way to map boreal forest
Oct 27, 2008

How best to map 'boreal' or northern forest with spaceborne radar is the focus of an ESA campaign currently underway in northern Sweden. By answering this question, the campaign addresses one of the key objectives of the candidate Earth Explorer BIOMASS mission. 

BIOMASS is one of six candidate Earth Explorer missions that has just completed assessment study and will be presented to the science community at a User Consultation Meeting in January 2009. Up to three of the missions will subsequently be selected for the next stage of development (feasibility study), leading to the eventual implementation of ESA’s seventh Earth Explorer mission. The BIOMASS mission, if selected, is expected to greatly improve our knowledge of how much carbon is being stored, where it is being stored, and allow better quantification of carbon fluxes between land and the atmosphere – important for understanding more about the global carbon cycle and climate change.

 ESA Future Missions

Launch of Mediterranean Forest Products Database
Oct 24, 2008

The multifunctional nature of Mediterranean forests, their high ecological value, and their contribution to the human welfare in the region are widely recognised. Today, the Mediterranean forests are appreciated not only for producing wood forest products but more importantly for the non-wood forest products and services they provide. EFIMED (the regional office of EFI established in 2007) published the Mediterranean Forest database. The database includes data on the state of the forest, as well as the quantity and value of wood and non-wood forest goods and services. The database is based on the results of an inventory estimating the Total Economic Value of Mediterranean forests compiling data on the direct and indirect use values for 18 countries in the Mediterranean basin. The inventory was carried out by MEDFOREX, EFI's Regional Project Centre (2004-2008).

EFIMED Database

European Commission unveils package to tackle illegal logging and deforestation
Oct 21, 2008

The European Commission unveiled two important initiatives to protect forests globally. The package comprises a legislative proposal to reduce the risk of illegal timber and timber products entering the EU market, and a Communication setting out the Commission's proposals for tackling tropical deforestation. Illegal logging and deforestation have serious environmental implications, contributing to climate change and the loss of biodiversity, as well as threatening the livelihood of indigenous people. Illegal logging is also a symptom of wider problems, including a lack of forest governance, and weak law enforcement. In the context of the international negotiations on the post-2012 climate change agreement, the Commission proposes to pursue the objective of halting global forest cover loss by 2030 at the latest and reducing gross tropical deforestation by at least 50% by 2020. The proposals in the Communication should form part of the EU's position at the UN climate conference in Poznan in December and in the negotiations on a new climate agreement that is due to be concluded in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

EC press release

Proposed legislation on illegal logging

Communication on deforestation

EU Observer - Brussels avoids crackdown on illegal timber

Eliasch Review on 'Climate Change: Financing Global Forests'
Oct 14, 2008
The Eliasch Review, 'Climate Change: Financing Global Forests', is an independent report commissioned by the Prime Minister of the UK and led by Johan Eliasch, Special Representative on Deforestation. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the financing and mechanisms needed to support sustainable management of forests and reduce emissions associated with deforestation.
The Review finds that:
  • The international community should aim to support forest nations to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the global forest sector 'carbon neutral' by 2030 - i.e. with emissions from forest loss balanced by new forest growth.
  • Reducing emissions from deforestation should be fully included in any post-2012 global climate deal at Copenhagen.
  • National Governments should develop their own strategies to combat deforestation in forest countries, including establishing baselines, targets and effective governance and distribution of finances.
  • In the long term, the forest sector should be included in global carbon markets.
  • Public and private sector funding will be needed in the short to medium term as carbon markets grow.
  • The international community should provide support for capacity building where necessary. Total capacity building costs are estimated at up to $4 billion over 5 years for 40 forest nations.
Climate Change: Financing Global Forests - The Eliasch Review
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