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NEWS

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.



Better access to forest products price information
Jun 01, 2011

Recently launched, the Forest Products Price Information Portal offers various users ease in searching for information on forest products prices, specifically in Europe, but also worldwide. Users can search by product category (industrial roundwood, pulp and paper, sawnwood, wood energy, wood based panels), geographic location, market area, and organisation type. The portal currently consists of more than 200 different information sources from more than 30 countries. It provides an overview and links to various price and timber market related information sources/databases.

When price and supply information is readily available to the public, it provides maximum opportunity to buyers and sellers to complete transactions with minimum transaction costs. Market transparency reduces information asymmetry, thereby allowing fair exchange of goods and services.

The portal will be useful to various stakeholders, such as researchers, marketing specialists and decision makers in the forestry and timber industry. The portal is an output of the feasibility study on improving forest products price information. This study was conducted by the European Forest Institute, through its Observatory for European Forests in Nancy, France in collaboration with the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.

EFI press release

Forest Products Price Information Portal

 
Commission and EEA sign agreement to provide detailed information on land cover in Europe
May 30, 2011

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission (EC) have signed an agreement to provide information on land cover in Europe, compiling data from land, air and space. The EEA will manage a €20 million budget over the three-year period 2011-2013 to coordinate technical implementation of the continental and local GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) land monitoring services. The EEA will work closely with the Joint Research Centre who will be responsible for coordinating the global component of the GMES land monitoring services. The agreement was signed on 25 May 2011, during a Green Week event in Brussels. Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA, and Mr Heinz Zourek, Director General for the EC Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, signed the Delegation Agreement contracting the EEA to implement the initial operations of land monitoring services from 2011-2013. Land monitoring will be carried out under the GMES initiative for Earth Observation launched by the EC and the European Space Agency (ESA). The objective of GMES is to monitor the state of the environment on land, at sea and in the atmosphere, improving the security of citizens in a world facing an increased risk of natural and other disasters. The GMES land monitoring services will provide detailed information on land cover change from local to global level. Data will be sourced from satellites developed by the European Space Agency, as well as from national earth observation missions. These will be complemented with data from in-situ sources such as airborne and land-based sensors. Land monitoring will provide information on urban areas, forests, grasslands, wetlands and water bodies as well as other natural resources.

EEA press release

 
FAO launches consultation on climate change guidelines for forest policymakers
May 30, 2011

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has launched a consultation on the zero draft of the guidelines on Climate Change for Forest Policy Makers - An approach for integrating climate change into national forest programmes. The guidelines are based on a preliminary analysis of the major challenges and opportunities that climate change poses for the forest sector and the related policy issues in four countries (Cambodia, Paraguay, South Africa, Tanzania). This review is an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute to the drafting of the guide. Comments from this review will be considered in the first version of the guide expected to be published in September 2011. The deadline for comments is 20 June 2011.

Consultation call

FAO Forest and Climate Change Programme

 
European Parliament adopts report on the Commission Green Paper on Forest Protection and Information
May 20, 2011

The European Parliament (EP) adopted (at its sitting on 11 May 2011) the Report on the Commission Green Paper on forest protection and information in the EU - preparing forests for climate change . The report was drafted by Kriton Arsenis (Greece, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats).

The report calls for full implementation of active sustainable forest management (SFM) in the context of long-term national forest programmes (NFPs) incorporating national and regional priorities, measurable targets and evaluation criteria and taking account of the increased threats to forests from climate change. The report also calls upon the Commission to: (1) carefully study, and to report to Parliament and the Council on, options for payment for ecosystem services that acknowledge their economic value and reward forest biodiversity conservation and the restoration of forest ecosystems; (2) present a legislative proposal for forest fire prevention, incorporating funding for prevention plans and risk assessment, the European Forest Fires Information System (EFFIS), fire detection, infrastructure, training and education, and forest recovery after fires, including consideration of a 30-year ban on building on land where there has been a forest fire; (3) submit a legislative proposal prohibiting building on land cleared by fires proven to have resulted from arson; (4) present a legislative proposal on forest information, taking into account climate threats and the need for collection and dissemination of relevant, harmonised and comparable data on forest cover, biodiversity, biotic and abiotic threats and land use in the context of the UNFCCC, CBD and environmental accounts; (5) compile and monitor indicators relating to the protective functions of forests such as soil retention and water capacity; (6) support research into the influence of forests on regional weather patterns in the EU; (7) develop and disseminate best-practice guidelines based on the principles of sustainable management to fit the needs of private and state owners as well as local communities, in order to ensure resilience to climate change; (8) devise appropriate strategies for their protection, including the consideration of ‘Forest Heritage Observatories’.

The Green Paper, issued by the Commission in March 2010 and the subject of a public consultation (open until 31 July 2010), set out options for a European Union approach to the protection of forests and to information about forest resources and their condition.

EU Parliament procedure file

Public consultation on Green Paper DG Environment

 

 
EU signs a deal with Liberia to end trade of illegal timber
May 10, 2011

The European Union and the Government of Liberia, which presides over half of the remaining rainforest in West Africa, announced today a landmark agreement to ensure that all Liberian timber products exported from Liberia to the EU are derived from legal sources and that the resulting trade will benefit the Liberian people. EFIs EU FLEGT Facility provided technical support to the preparation, negotiation and implementation of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Liberia.

Almost 45% of Liberia — about 4.3 million hectares — is covered by tropical forest. With over half the entire rainforest remaining in West Africa, Liberia is home to rare and endangered wildlife, and represents one of only 34 biodiversity hotspots worldwide.

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU is an outgrowth of an aggressive effort undertaken by the Liberian government to embrace reforms across the timber sector and revive forest production and its export sales. Illegal logging had been rampant during the prolonged civil war in the 1990s. The VPA will be signed only five years after the lifting of UN sanctions, imposed on imports of timber from Liberia by the UN in 2003. Timber exports once accounted for more than 20 percent of the GDP of Liberia, but the sanctions stopped commercial forestry activity, and they have yet to rebound.

EU FLEGT Facility press release

EFI press release

DG Development press release

 

 
Indonesia and EU sign pact to end exports of illegal timber
May 05, 2011

The European Union and the Government of Indonesia today announced a new agreement aimed at stemming the flow of illegally harvested timber, which until recently had represented approximately 50% of timber exported from Indonesia and 20% of timber products imported into the EU, according to various estimates. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with Indonesia, the world's third-largest tropical forest nation, is the most ambitious yet of the EU's bi-lateral pacts aimed at slowing the destruction of tropical forests. EFI's EU FLEGT Facility provided technical support to the preparation, negotiation and implementation of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Indonesia.

EFI press release

EU FLEGT Facility

 
European Commission announces new strategy to halt biodiversity loss within ten years
May 04, 2011

The European Commission presented a new strategy to protect and improve the state of biodiversity in Europe over the next decade. The strategy includes six targets which address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and which will reduce the main pressures on nature and ecosystem services in the EU by anchoring biodiversity objectives in key sectoral policies. The global aspects of biodiversity loss are also addressed, ensuring that the EU contributes to combating biodiversity loss around the world. The strategy is in line with the commitments made by the EU in Nagoya, Japan, last year.

The strategy adopted today features six priority targets and accompanying actions to greatly reduce the threats to biodiversity. The actions include: (1) Full implementation of existing nature protection legislation and network of natural reserves, to ensure major improvements to the conservation status of habitats and species; (2) Improving and restoring ecosystems and ecosystem services wherever possible, notably by the increased use of green infrastructure; (3) Ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and forestry activities; (4) Safeguarding and protecting EU fish stocks; (5) Controlling invasive species, a growing cause of biodiversity loss in the EU; (6) Stepping up the EU contribution to concerted global action to avert biodiversity loss.

With regard to action 3, the specific aim for forests is that by 2020, Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments, in line with Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), are in place for all forests that are publicly owned, and for forest holdings above a certain size (to be defined by the Member States or regions and communicated in their Rural Development Programmes) or receive funding under the EU Rural Development Policy.

DG Environment press release

EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy

EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy Q&A

 
EU strategy for the Danube Region given green light
Apr 19, 2011

The ministers of the 27 EU Member States met on 13 April 2011 and endorsed the EU Strategy for the Danube Region adopted by the European Commission in December 2010 (IP/10/1687). Preparations for implementation of the Strategy are already underway. Around 200 priority actions will contribute to developing the huge economic potential of the area and improving environmental conditions in the region. The strategy is based on a new working method based on a macro-regional approach, following in the footsteps of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The strategy focuses on four main pillars: (1) Connecting the Danube Region (improving mobility, encouraging sustainable energy and promoting culture and tourism); (2) Protecting the environment in the Danube Region (restoring water quality, managing environmental risks and preserving biodiversity); (3) Building prosperity in the Danube Region (developing research capacity, education and information technologies, supporting the competitiveness of enterprises and investing in people); (4) Strengthening the Danube Region (stepping up institutional capacity and improving cooperation to tackle organised crime). The strategy concerns mainly 14 countries of which 8 are Member States (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania) and 6 are non-EU countries (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova).

DG Regional Policy press release  

EU Strategy for the Danube Region

 
Land use conflicts necessitate integrated policy
Apr 15, 2011

On 29 March 2011, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published 36 land cover country analyses based on CLC 2006 data. Each of the country reports provides graphs and maps based on a common template that characterise land cover changes concisely. The provided information does not represent reporting from the Countries, however it is based on validated CLC2006 data.

In a recent land use assessment published in November 2010, the EEA analysed land use change in Europe, concluding that we need an integrated policy approach based on reliable data to balance sectoral demands and manage land sustainably. The land use assessment published as a part of the EEA flagship report The European environment – state and outlook 2010 (SOER 2010) covers 36 European countries and a total area of 5.42 million km2.

EEA press release

Land cover country analyses

SOER 2010

 

 
European Nitrogen Assessment
Apr 14, 2011

The European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) has been launched at the Nitrogen and Global Change conference in Edinburgh (11-14 April 2011). Presenting the first continental-scale assessment of reactive nitrogen in the environment, the ENA sets the related environmental problems in context by providing a multidisciplinary introduction to the nitrogen cycle processes in different ecosystems, and assessment of nitrogen budgets at different scales. One key finding related to forests is that the nitrous oxide emissions from forest soils is at least twice as much as estimated so far by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The five key societal threats (water quality, air quality, greenhouse balance, ecosystems and biodiversity, and soil quality) posed by reactive nitrogen are assessed, providing a framework for joined-up management of the nitrogen cycle in Europe, including the first cost-benefit analysis for different reactive nitrogen forms and future scenarios. The ENA is the major outcome of the Nitrogen in Europe (NinE) programme, jointly with the COST Action 729 (Assessing and managing nitrogen fluxes in the atmosphere-biosphere system in Europe) and the NitroEurope IP. The ENA book is available from Cambridge University Press.

Conference - Nitrogen and Global Change: key findings/future challenges

NinE - European Nitrogen Assessment

Cambridge University Press - European Nitrogen Assessment

 
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