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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.



First steps for implementing Payments for Environmental Services - SylvaMED project meeting
Oct 19, 2011

On September 27-30th, Chania (Greece) hosted a technical workshop on the social uses of forests, as part of the SylvaMED project. The SylvaMED project aims to respond to the challenge of the supply and financing of environmental services provided by forests. Partners from different Mediterranean countries will test public-private schemes of Payments for Environmental Services (PES), focusing on the most crucial non-marketed forest goods and services from their area. The SylvaMED project is progressing, as partners showed during the meeting in Chania. The previous meetings held this year (in Avignon-April and Ljubljana-June) allowed participants to bring ideas for pilot cases and exchange impressions on their feasibility and previous experiences. Partners have further explored the opportunities and constraints in their legal and cultural realities, held preliminary discussions with relevant stakeholders and have drafted the PES design.

EFIMED press release

SylvaMED project web-page

 
Europe's forests at a glance — a breath of fresh air in a changing climate
Oct 19, 2011

Forests do not only provide us with food, fibre and medicine, they regulate our climate and improve our quality of life. Human activities and climate change exert increasing pressure on our forest resources and the services they provide. With increasing demand on forests services on the one side, and uncertainty and risks linked to climate change on the other, we need to ensure that forests can continue fulfilling their multifunctional role. A new publication by the European Environment Agency provides a brief overview of forest resources in Europe, the services they provide, and the pressures they are facing.

EEA  press release

 
Koli Forum focuses on bioeconomy
Sep 28, 2011

The growing importance of the bioeconomy, and Europes competitiveness in the light of global development were the focus of the 2nd Koli Forum, which took place from 14-16 September. The forum brought together top politicians, researchers, business leaders and decision-makers from Europe and beyond, to consider the sustainable and innovative use of natural resources.

A set of proposals for actions – two theses – were drawn up, which were presented at the World Resources Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 19 September. They will also be presented to the European Commission, the UN Climate Conference in South Africa 2011, and subsequently the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero in 2012.

The first thesis proposes that the bioeconomy should become a driver for European sustainable competitiveness. This could be achieved by promoting biomass-based new products and energy, creating global criteria for the sustainable bioeconomy sector, and ensuring that a minimum of 20% of public building and construction is wood-based. The second thesis emphasises education as a key measure for raising awareness of bioeconomy opportunities, and calls for a strengthening of the academic-industry partnership in research and education, and for the bioeconomy approach to be prioritised in the 2014 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

EFI press release

Koli Forum press release

 
UNECE/FAO outlook study identifies possible scenarios for the future of European forests
Sep 23, 2011

Europeans have high expectations of their forests which must meet increasing and sometimes conflicting environmental, social and economic demands. Policy makers must balance the conservation of biodiversity, the need to sequester and store carbon, adaptation to a changing climate and the provision of opportunities for recreation and leisure, while also supplying wood for energy and raw material use. The European Forest Sector Outlook Study II (EFSOS II), which covers the EU 27, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, provides pictures of the consequences of the policy choices of today for the forest of tomorrow.
 
A reference scenario and four policy scenarios have been prepared for the European forest sector between 2010 and 2030, covering the forest resource and forest products. The scenarios are based on the results of several different modelling approaches, and in particular of econometric projections of production and consumption of forest products, the Wood Resource Balance, the European Forest Information Scenario model (EFISCEN), the European Forest Institute - Global Forest Sector Model (EFI-GTM), and competitiveness analysis.

The four policy scenarios (Maximising biomass carbon; Priority to biodiversity; Promoting wood energy; Fostering innovation and competitiveness) help policy makers gain insights into the consequences of certain policy choices. These choices are assessed according to their sustainability and recommendations are proposed based on the trade-offs facing policy makers. Decision makers are encouraged to reflect upon these analyses and to consider them when taking possible future policy actions.

UNECE/FAO press release

EFSOS II
 

 
New marketing techniques and Payments for Environmental Services are discussed in Fez
Sep 23, 2011

Eighteen young researchers from all around the Mediterranean have taken part in an AGORA workshop in Fez (Morocco), sharing knowledge with scientists from a range of countries. The international workshop, which took place from 12-15 September 2011, discussed New economic approaches in forest goods and services marketing.

The main objective of the AGORA is to develop capacity in forest research in strategic areas in Morocco and Tunisia. A key action for this purpose is young, promising scientists sharing knowledge with experts via participative workshops. The Fez workshop, part of the strategic area Economic tools and policies for sustainable forest goods and services, created a Mediterranean platform for young researchers in the fields of forest economics, policy and governance to exchange experiences.

Topics presented included the scientific background of market-based mechanisms, exploring the potential for their implementation and analysing existing experiences in the Mediterranean environment. Participants were introduced to social network analysis and its relevance for marketing mix development. Studies carried out in Southern African and Latin American countries with NTFP (Non-Timber Forest Products) markets were discussed, and crucial questions raised regarding their realization in North African realities. The young researchers also presented their current work, gaining suggestions, constructive comments and new insights for further development. Interactive participation and informal contacts stimulated the interaction of young and senior researchers from INRGREF and ENFI with scientists from the Balkan countries, Turkey, Romania, Slovenia, UK, Italy and Spain. A representative of the Ministry of Agriculture of Morocco and a technician from the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) also participated in the workshop.

The workshop finished with a field visit to the Middle Atlas region of Ifrane, where interesting initiatives such as the Model Forest and payments to shepherds for forest regeneration are being developed.

The workshop was organized by the University of Padova (Italy) and ENFI (National School of Forest Engineers of Morocco), with the collaboration of EFIMED and INRGREF (National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests of Tunisia). It follows on from a workshop held in Hamammet (Tunisia) in 2010, further deepening knowledge-sharing in different, related topics in forest economics.

AGORA beneficiaries will present their work at the forthcoming AGORA Final Conference in Tunisia.

EFIMED press release

AGORA web-site

 
European and global forests - which way for the future?
Sep 20, 2011

A two-day conference on European and global forests - which way for the future? was held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 6-7 September 2011.  The first day of the conference was organised by the INTERREG IVC project FUTUREforest. A report on the results of the three-yearproject was presented. The second day of the conference was held by the Forestry subgroup of the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development. The conference brought together international and European actors. The meeting focussed on the challenges of sustainable management, conservation and development of forests in Europe and worldwide against climate change. The conference sought to: exchange best practices and solutions for forest conservation and management; raise awareness on key obstacles related to deforestation such as illegal logging and respect of populations' rights; reaffirm the link between the fight against poverty and deforestation

The European Bureau for Conservation & Development (EBCD) provides the Secretariat of the European Parliament Intergroup Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.

EBCD press release

European and global forests - which way for the future? (meeting documents and presentations)

FUTUREforest

 
Act Now! Forests for Future ENO Conference, Joensuu Finland 13-17 September 2011
Sep 06, 2011

Environment Online (ENO) is a global virtual school and network for sustainable development. The ENO Programme Association will organize a conference called Act Now! Forests for Future on 13-17 September 2011. This first of the biannual conferences will take place in Joensuu, Finland, and it is featured as one of the key events for the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. The patron for the conference is Dr Jane Goodall. Over 600 teachers and pupils from 70 countries and every continent have registered for this event. Most of the participants come from the developing countries.

The main event at Joensuu Areena on 15-16 September will showcase the World of Forests. Some 7000 visitors are expected to take part in the event and follow hands-on workshops, panel discussion and other activities focusing on forests and their importance. Still more people will attend through the internet as the event will be streamed live on the web.

Act Now! web-site

 

 
Increasing fragmentation of landscape threatens European wildlife
Sep 06, 2011
Roads, motorways, railways, intensive agriculture and urban developments are breaking up European landscapes into ever-smaller pieces, with potentially devastating consequences for flora and fauna across the continent, according to a new joint report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The report, Landscape fragmentation in Europe, demonstrates how areas of land are often unable to support high levels of biodiversity when they are split into smaller and smaller parcels.

The report quantitatively investigates the degree of landscape fragmentation (by transportation infrastructure and built-up areas) in 28 countries in Europe for the first time for three different fragmentation geometries at three levels. The three levels are: countries; regions (NUTS.X, according to the Nomenclature of Statistical Territorial Units); and a grid of 1 km2 cells (LEAC grid, which is used for Land and Ecosystem Accounting activities). The report applies the method of effective mesh density which quantifies the degree to which the possibilities for movement of wildlife in the landscape are interrupted by barriers. The effective mesh density values across the 28 investigated countries cover a large range, from low values in large parts of Scandinavia to very high values in western and central Europe.

  • The highest levels of fragmentation are found in the Benelux countries, followed by Malta, Germany and France.
  • Romania, dominated by the Carpathian Mountains, has successfully avoided large-scale landscape fragmentation. The 13 national parks and more than 500 hundred protected areas mean that the country provides the habitat for 60% of bears, 40% of wolves and 35% of lynx in Europe.
  • The situation in the UK is extremely varied – it has the some of the highest levels of fragmentation around London, while the Scottish Highlands are some of the least fragmented areas.
  • Low population densities, mountains and remote areas mean Scandinavia has generally very low levels of landscape fragmentation.
  • Mediterranean countries like Spain, Greece and Italy have a medium level of landscape fragmentation overall, with greater fragmentation in many built-up coastal areas.
  • In East and Central Europe, there are ambitious road building plans. For example, Poland has an unprecedented motorway building programme, representing 40% of the road building market in the region in coming years. This may further divide the remaining patches of habitat unless measures are taken to preserve connectivity and compensate for the habitat loss.
EEA press release
 
Final assessment of the 6th Environment Action Programme shows progress in environment policy
Sep 05, 2011

Over the past decade the 6th European Community Environment Action Programme (EAP) has helped environment legislation to tackle almost all areas of the environment. This is evident from the final assessment of the 6th EAP (2002-2012) adopted on 31 August 2011. Major accomplishments in the field of environment during the past ten years have been the extension of the Natura 2000 network to cover almost 18% of the EU land area, the introduction of a comprehensive chemicals policy, and policy action on climate change. However, there is progress to be made in implementing agreed EU objectives and rules and in improving biodiversity protection, soil and water quality. The decoupling of resource use from economic growth has not led to a decrease in overall resources use.

The final evaluation of the 6th Environment Action Programme shows that the large majority of actions set out in the Programme have been or are in the process of being completed. The seven thematic strategies identified in the 6th EAP – air, pesticides, waste prevention and recycling, natural resources, soil, marine environment and urban environment – have been developed in order to strengthen policy. Some strategies drove new policy while others focused to a greater degree on revising existing measures to improve coherence and to address specific gaps.

The Programme was successful in providing an overarching framework for environment policy. It served as a reference for Member States and local authorities in defending environment policy against competing policy demands, securing appropriate funding and providing predictability for business. The Programme also helped to build political will for the adoption of effective targets and timetables, and their subsequent implementation.

The 6th Community Environment Action Programme is a decision of the European Parliament and the Council adopted on 22 July 2002. It sets out a strategic framework for environmental policy-making in the European Union for the period 2002-2012. Environment Action Programmes have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early 1970s and the 6th EAP should therefore be seen as part of an overall 40 year process. The 6th EAP was the first Environment Action Programme to be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament under the co-decision procedure.

DG Environment press release

Sixth Environment Action Programme 2002-2012

 
Trends of common birds in Europe, 2011
Sep 02, 2011

Data from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) for the time period 1980-2009 have been published. The report presents updated population trends and indices of 145 common European bird species that have been produced by PECBMS in 2011. The bird species were classified as farm, forest or other according to their predominant regional habitat use. There were 33 forest dwelling species, 36 farmland dwelling species, and 76 species for which the predominant habitat was classified as other. Of the forest dwelling species, populations of 16 species had experienced a decline of more than 10% since 1980, 11 species had experienced population growth of more than 10%, and the populations of two species were within +/- 10% of the 1980 census. For four more forest species only the trend since 1990 was available: two of these species experienced a population growth of more than 10%, one experienced a population decline of more than 10%, and one experience a population decrease of 10%.

For the farmland birds, 10 species showed a population growth of more than 10%, 21 species showed a population decline of more than 10%, and 5 species had a population growth of between +/- 10%. For the species classifed as other, 33 species showed a population decline of more than 10%, 30 species showed a population increase of more than 10%, and 13 species had population growth of between +/- 10%.

The 25 countries contributing to the PECBMS in 2011 were: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

EBCC Trends of common birds in Europe

Birdlife International news

 
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