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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.



Sustaining forests: investing in our common future - UNEP Policy Brief
Aug 26, 2011

UNEP has published the fifth issue in the Policy Brief on Ecosystem Management series. This policy brief seeks to outline how forests can be a key part of a green economy that provides opportunities for innovative solutions to forest management. The provides an overview of the many values of forest assets before reviewing the complex issues that threaten forests globally and lastly looking at the emerging innovative market and policy solutions that can promote long-term sustainable forest management and contribute to a green economy.

Forests are key assets in the structuring of a green economy as they provide a wide variety of services, including ecological infrastructure, which comprises public goods such as water and carbon regulation and tradeable goods such as timber, fibre, biomass and non-timber forest products. They also act as a source of livelihood, natural insurance, adaptation, employment and health services. Focusing on forests helps draw attention to the importance of creating a green economy at the local, regional and global levels.

UNEP Policy Series Blog

UNEP Policy Brief on Ecosystem Management No. 5

 
Forest Fires in Europe 2010
Aug 18, 2011

The report Forest Fires in Europe 2010 contains a summary of the 2010 fire season in Europe, with official statistics on number of fires and burnt areas compiled by the contributing countries. In addition to country reports with a summary of the past fire season provided by the countries, the report Forest Fires in Europe informs about the latest developments in terms of forest fire prevention and initiatives of the European Commission to support forest fire protection activities in the European Union. Furthermore it provides the results of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) operating during the fire season, with special emphasis on the EFFIS Danger Forecast, providing daily maps of meteorological fire danger forecast of EU, and the EFFIS Rapid Damage Assessment, performing the daily mapping and assessment (based on MODIS satellite imagery) of main land cover and Natura2000 areas affected by fires of at least 40 ha during the fire season. In 2010 EFFIS has continued including Northern African countries in the mapping of burnt areas and the assessment of fire danger forecast. This is intended to be a first step towards the enlargement of EFFIS to the non-European countries of the Mediterranean basin in the context of the collaboration between the EC and the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO). The report also includes a contribution from Russia.

2010 was overall a relatively mild year for forest fires in Europe, except for Portugal that was affected by remarkable fire activity especially in the first half of August. The total burnt area in Europe (274 000 ha) was below the long-term average. However about 50% of the burnt land was concentrated in Portugal, where the meteorological fire danger conditions assessed by EFFIS in the first half of August 2010 were among the worst of the last decade for the country.

JRC EFFIS Annual Fire Reports

 
Increased forest threat from extreme weather
Aug 15, 2011

An international partnership for forest conservation and improvement has warned that extreme weather events and natural disasters will pose an increasing threat to world forests in coming years, requiring heightened cooperation between regions and countries. The warning was issued by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a mechanism comprising 14 international organizations and secretariats, in line with the launch of a new FAO publication, Abiotic disturbances and their influence on forest health. The report reviews the current knowledge on the impacts of abiotic disturbances. Events are discussed within five categories: (1) Meteorological – cyclones, storms (wind, snow, ice and hail, dust and sand), tornadoes, and thunderstorms and lightning; (2) Climatological – drought; (3) Hydrological – floods and flash floods, avalanches, landslides and mudslides; (4) Geophysical – tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; (5) anthropogenic – fire, oil spills, air pollution and radioactive contamination. Almost 4000 extreme abiotic disturbances occurred between 2000 and 2009 worldwide. Examples of abiotic disturbances and their impacts on forests include: a major storm in Sweden in 2005, which uprooted or damaged trees in over 1.2 million hectares of forest; Tropical Cyclone Sidr, which hit Bangladesh in 2007 and affected almost nine million people and damaged nearly 1.5 million houses and some four million trees; and the 2010 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in central Chile, which killed more than 700 people and caused up to $30 billion in economic losses to the country. The CPF called upon forest managers to apply forest policies such as diversifying species, using windbreaks and mixed cropping patterns to protect forests from disasters, minimizing the risks and impacts of extreme events.

FAO press release

Abiotic disturbances and their influence on forest health. Forest Health & Biosecurity Working Paper FBS/35E

 
Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2010-2011
Aug 05, 2011

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have released the Forest Products Annual Market Review 2010-2011, according to which consumption of forest products in the UNECE region rose by 5.6% overall in 2010, following two years of falling production and consumption.

Trends in the first half of 2011 lend support to a continued, albeit modest, rise in consumption. Consumption rose by 4.1% in North America, by 6.6% in Europe and 6.3% in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In line with the increases in consumption, production also rose, although patterns varied significantly in the three subregions: the harvest was up almost 10% in Europe, the highest since 2007; in the CIS, +17%, where the Russian Federation is the principal producer; and in North America production was the second lowest for 30 years.

In spite of relatively subdued demand, prices for many forest products have risen sharply, but not evenly across the region: price rises have been steepest in central and eastern Europe, where it now seems that sawing capacity, as a result of investment over recent years, may have exceeded the available supply of sawlogs. The wood energy sector has enjoyed continued growth as public policies and financial incentives have pushed the expansion of modern technology for producing heat, heat and electricity or electricity alone. Growth in consumption worldwide is forecast to increase by 11% annually until 2020. The report identifies factors expected to drive up demand for wood energy, including: the impact of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, and the reconsideration by some governments of their policies on nuclear energy; rising oil and coal prices that provide an incentive to switch to wood, which is generally recognized as a carbon-neutral renewable energy source.

Such has been the demand for feedstock that a wood energy commodity contract exchange market is expected to be launched in the second half of 2011 based on the Port of Rotterdam, through which 15% of the global trade in wood pellets passes. This will allow global trading of, primarily, wood pellets, and the opportunity to forward-buy feedstock for a month, year or possibly up to three years ahead.

UNECE press release

UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review 2010-2011

 
EU Timber Regulation Support Study - final report
Jul 26, 2011

The final report of the Support study for development of the non-legislative acts provided for in the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (often referred to as the EUTR Support Study) has been published in mid-July 2011. The study aimed to identify efficient ways to fulfill the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation and looked into options for recognition procedures of monitoring organisations and risk management systems, taking into account in particular relevant best practices. The due diligence system should contain the following three elements: (1) Measures and procedures providing access to information concerning the operator supply of timber or timber products placed on the market; (2) Risk assessment procedures enabling the operators to analyze and evaluate the risk of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber being placed on the market; and (3) Risk mitigation procedures, except where the risk identified is negligible, which consist of a set of measures and procedures that are adequate and proportionate to minimize effectively that risk and which may include requiring additional information or documents and/or requiring third party verification. A number of applied systems were reviewed and based on the gathered information from the stakeholders the project team identified tools, which could be applied by operators to deliver the information, as required by the EU Timber Regulation. The Article 8 of the EUTR deals with the role of Monitoring Organisations, third party organisations responsible in assisting and monitoring whether operators meet the requirements of the Regulation. The study team identified recognition requirements and procedures, which could assure the efficient and effective operation of the foreseen Monitoring Organisations.

The report is available from the DG Environment website. The study was coordinated by the European Forest Institute (EFI). Sub-contractors were Indufor (Finland) and University of Padova (Italy).

DG Environment EU Timber Regulation

EFI press release

 
ITTO Annual Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation 2010
Jul 26, 2011

The 2010 Review provides data on global production and trade in forest products in ITTO member countries, as well as an overview of statistics of production and trade in all timber products in these countries. The focus of the review is on tropical timber. Data is presented up to and including 2010 based on estimates mostly made in the third quarter of that year; these estimates should be viewed with caution due to deficient or non-submission of data by many countries. The base year for analysis is 2009 as it is the latest year for which reliable data for most countries were available at the time of preparation. The Review consists of three substantive chapters: (1) an introduction in which developments in major markets for tropical timber are summarized; (2) an analysis of production, consumption, trade and prices for the primary tropical timber products covered by the ITTA (tropical logs, sawnwood, veneer and plywood); description of trade in secondary processed wood products (SPWPs) with a focus on tropical countries.

ITTO Annual Review

 
Ministers launch negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe
Jun 16, 2011

The health and sustainability of European forests play an essential role in solving challenges like climate change, biodiversity protection and fresh water. Their vitality is also crucial to foster a green economy both in Europe and globally. Protection and sustainable management of European forests require a stable and efficient platform for coherent policy development and implementation. Therefore, European ministers responsible for forests made an historic decision yesterday to launch negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. They also adopted European 2020 Targets for forests. This far-reaching political step was taken at the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe.

As part of the future FOREST EUROPE strategy, ministers agreed on European 2020 Targets for forests. This decision comprises strategic goals, measurable targets and priority actions at national and international level to enhance sustainable forest management. It also prepares the ground for increased recognition of the role of forests and their sustainable management in a future, sustainable, low carbon economy. The decisions taken by the ministers will further enhance the concrete contribution from Europe to the International Year of Forests 2011, and highlight the pivotal role of forests for human well-being.

FOREST EUROPE press release

 
SoEF 2011 - new report reveals huge potential in mitigating climate change in European forests
Jun 14, 2011

Europe has the most forest-rich region in the world. It represents 25% of the global forest resources. Expanding forests in Europe have a huge potential to mitigate climate change. They provide the renewable materials wood and energy, and foster a green economy. Sustainable forest management practices increasingly promote conservation of biodiversity. But, forests are also threatened by diseases and extreme weather conditions, such as storms, as well as fires. These are the main results which derive from the report on the State of Europe s Forests 2011 (SoEF 2011), which has been launched today in Oslo, Norway. The launch takes place on the occasion of the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. The conference will convene 14-16 June 2011. At the conference in Oslo, ministers responsible for forests, as well as high-level representatives from 46 countries and the European Union meet to take decisions aimed at preserving forests and safeguarding their environmental, societal and economic benefits for present and future generations. During the 2-day high-level political dialogue, the ministers are deliberating a common vision, strategic goals and measurable targets for European forests by 2020. The ministers are further expected to agree on the Oslo mandate for negotiating a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe. Such an agreement would be an historic step forward - for forests and for a European and global forest policy cooperation.

FOREST EUROPE publications

FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference Oslo 2011

 
Hidden value of nature in UK revealed in groundbreaking study
Jun 03, 2011

The true value of nature can be shown for the very first time thanks to groundbreaking research by hundreds of UK scientists. The research forms the basis of a major new independent report – the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) – which reveals that nature is worth billions of pounds to the UK economy. The report strengthens the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment and will be used by the government to direct policy in future. The UK NEA examines the state of the full range of services provided across eight different habitats (marine, coastal margins, urban, woodlands, wetlands, enclosed farmland, semi-natural grasslands, mountains/moorlands/heath). It shows that while some ecosystems are getting better at delivering services, such as crop production from farmland and climate regulation by woodlands, over 30% of services assessed were found to be in decline, and others degraded, such as marine fisheries, wild species diversity and soil quality.

DEFRA press release

BBC Nature is worth billions to UK

 
Carpathian Convention adopts protocol for the sustainable management of forests
Jun 01, 2011

On 25–27 May 2011, high-level representatives of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Ukraine, as well as representatives from the European Commission and International Organizations met in Bratislava for the Third Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Carpathian Convention. In line with the United Nations International Year of Forests, the seven states agreed to further cooperate and strengthen their efforts in order to protect, maintain and sustainably manage forests in the Carpathians. The legal framework has been established through the adoption of the Protocol on Sustainable Forest Management to the Carpathian Convention. The Protocol on Sustainable Tourism was also adopted.

Carpathian Convention COP3

UN News Centre

 
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