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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.



Have European forests grown older or are they actually getting younger?
Dec 17, 2012

European forests have changed drastically since the 1950s when forest and land use management caught up with the effects of the World War II. The forest area increased by 30% between 1950 and 2000 as low productive agricultural lands were abandoned and many countries were carrying out active afforestation. Today, forest management is very much in the focus of attention especially in the light of increasing the use of forest biomass for energy. Terhi Vilén and others have published a reconstructed forest age structure in Europe for 1950-2010.

One of the most common perceptions has been – until now – that European forests were young after the World War II due to the extensive cuttings carried out following the war. But were our forests really younger then? A group of international scientists have now compiled detailed information from historic forest inventories to reconstruct forest age class structure changes from 1950 to 2010. The results are partly surprising, because the average age of forests today is actually a few years lower than in 1950. The share of old forests declined quite strongly from 1950 to 1980, when the average age was at its minimum. Only after 1980 has there been a slight increase in the share of older forests.

The scientists used an innovative combination of inventory data and backcasting to reconstruct and map the forest age class structure from 1950 to 2010. This information is now used in the GHG-EUROPE project to improve the representation of forest management history in biogeochemical simulation models that are run to study the human influence on the greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes of European land use systems. What do these results tell us about past forest management? The results now show that since the 1950s, our forests became younger – but at the same time they gained in growing stock and stored more carbon. This means that the old forests that were cut in the 1950–1970s probably looked different from old forests today: they were less dense and probably less uniform in age than the typical conifer stands that replace them.

EFI press release

Vilén et al. 2012. Reconstructed forest age structure in Europe 1950–2010. Forest Ecology and Management 286: 203-218. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2012.08.048

 
Protected areas have increased to cover one-fifth of land in Europe
Oct 29, 2012

More than 21% of the land has some kind of protected status in the 39 countries which work with the European Environment Agency (EEA). However, only 4% of the sea controlled by countries of the European Union is included within the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, according to a new report from the EEA.

EEA press release

Protected areas in Europe - an overview  

 
European Alien Species Information Network - EASIN
Oct 22, 2012

The European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN) was launched in September 2012. The network aims to improve access to data and information regarding alien species in Europe. EASIN is designed to assist policy makers and scientists in their efforts to tackle Alien (non-native) Species invasions. It allows users to explore information on the currently reported 16 000 alien species from over 40 distributed online resources through a network of interoperable web services, following internationally recognised standards and protocols. EASIN is developed and maintained by the JRC, and is supported by DG Environment.

EASIN

DG Environment press release

 
Forest fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2011
Oct 17, 2012

The report Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2011 contains a summary of the 2011 fire season in Europe, with official statistics on number of fires and burnt areas compiled by the contributing countries. The report contains detailed country reports for 29 countries. The Rapid Damage Assessment module of EFFIS was set up to provide reliable and harmonized estimates of the areas affected by forest fires during the fire season. EFFIS Rapid Damage Assessment is based on the analysis of MODIS satellite imagery. The Rapid Damage Assessment methodology and the spatial resolution of the satellite sensor data used for this purpose allows the mapping of all fires of about 40 ha or larger. In order to obtain the statistics of the burnt area by land cover type the data from the European CORINE Land Cover 2000 (CLC) database were used. Results are presented for 25 countries.

The long time series of forest fire data (1980-2011) available for five southern countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece) justified a separate analysis as has been the case in previous reports. The country reports for these five countries show that during 2011 fires burned a total area of 269081 ha. This is slightly higher than the area burnt in 2010, but among the lowest values since 1980 (only 1996, 1999, 2008 and 2010 were lower). The number of fires that occurred (55543) is also higher than was registered in 2010, but slightly below the average of the last two decades.

JRC EFFIS Annual Fire Reports

EFFIS

 
Measuring biodiversity with indicators – new report describes SEBI approach
Sep 28, 2012
The continuing loss of biodiversity – made up of genes, species and ecosystems – is a matter of growing concern in Europe. Yet measuring the extent of the loss and the threat it poses is a huge challenge. In recent years the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI) process coordinated by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed a set of indicators to measure progress against targets to halt biodiversity loss. The EEA has now reviewed the successful process which created the indicators in a new report. The report, 'Streamlining European biodiversity indicators 2020: Building a future on lessons learnt from the SEBI 2010 process' summarises achievements to date and is intended to help form the next stage of improving indicators for new biodiversity targets for 2020.

EEA press release
 
New Director General takes the helm at Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Sep 20, 2012

Food security, forestry and climate change leading expert Peter Holmgren is the new director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Holmgren's tenure comes at an important time for the organization ahead of its 20th anniversary next year as one of the world's leading forestry research institutes, currently working in more than 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Holmgren joined CIFOR from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where he was Director of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division. He replaces Frances Seymour, who led CIFOR from 2006.

CIFOR press release

 

 
Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2011-2012
Aug 21, 2012
The UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review 2011-2012 has been published.

Highlighted conclusions from the report include:
  • Industrial roundwood production increased for the second year in a row, climbing by 2.4% over 2010, with harvests as much as 12% more than the lows of 2009, but still down 14% from 2007.
  • The economic recovery in the UNECE region has been sluggish; a deepening eurozone crisis has added to the uncertainty in markets – with new construction, still well below pre-crisis activity.
  • The US Lacey Act Amendment and the EU Timber Regulation are placing new obligations on suppliers to demonstrate 'low-risk' status with respect to illegal logging.


The Review provides general and statistical information on forest products markets in 2011 and early 2012 in the UN Economic Commission for Europe region (Europe, North America and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia). The Review begins with an overview chapter, followed by description of the macroeconomic situation, Next it includes an analysis of government and industriy policies affecting forest product markets. Five chapters are based on annual country-supplied statistics, describing: wood raw materials; sawn softwood; sawn hardwood; wood-based panels; and paper, paperboard and woodpulp. Additional chapters discuss markets for wood energy, certified forest products, value-added wood products, forest carbon, tropical timber, and on specific markets is included.

The data on which the Review is based are collected from official national correspondents through the FAO/UNECE/Eurostat/ITTO Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire, distributed in April 2012. Within the 56-country UNECE region, data for the 31 EU and EFTA countries are collected and validated by Eurostat, and for other UNECE countries by UNECE/FAO Geneva.

Forest Products Annual Market Review 2011-2012

UNECE-FAO press release

 
Utilisation of mountain wood and the organisation of mountain wood industries - European practices
Aug 10, 2012

The objective of the work is to identify and analyse positive and sustainable practices regarding the extraction and use of wood and the organisation (formal, e.g.,organisation of wood owner, union, association, etc.; or informal) of wood supply chains in mountain areas (from production to end products), in European countries with mountain forests with sufficient harvesting potential. Thus the study does not aim to be exhaustive, but to present a small number of practices that have led to an increase in local forest exploitation, giving value to the wood produced in the region, thanks not only to determined local commitment and vertical integration but also innovation and taking advantage of market niches. The practices presented here, are the basis of an analysis aimed at realising political recommendations to encourage the development of these supply chains. The study was conducted between May 2011 and April 2012.

Euromontana

 
Global Environment Outlook 5 Report Launched
Jun 07, 2012

The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing, according to a new and wide-ranging assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four. These are eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies, and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment. With regard to forest issues, the report states that there has been slight slowing of deforestation but the rate is still high. The deforestation is concentrated in the tropics while temperate areas are experiencing some forest regrowth.

GEO-5 Global Environment Outlook

 
Global Outlook Report looks at worldwide efforts in promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production
Apr 25, 2012

Successful initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and production are flourishing around the globe, but further efforts are needed to embed such practices in existing policy frameworks, according to a new Global Outlook Report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the European Commission. The Report released at Stockholm+40, an event marking the 40th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, presents an overview of efforts worldwide to shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns. The aim is to identify and share promising examples of effective policies and to propose recommendations to help support for SCP move ahead.

The report contains seven main sections: SCP at the global level; and SCP at regional levels - Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region, West Asia. The report presents 56 case studies within these sections, among which is a case study for sustainable forestry (global level).

 UNEP (2012), Global Outlook on SCP Policies: taking action together

DG Environment press release

 

 
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