12 May 2022 EU Forest Strategy: Conference on sustainable forestry
On 29 April 2022, an international symposium was held in Berlin under the title: FOREST MEETS POLITICS – sustainable forestry at stake? The symposium was organised by the German Forestry Council (DFWR – Deutscher Forstwirtschaftsrat) together with the Austrian Forestry, Wood and Paper Platform (FHP – Forst Holz Papier) at AXICA Congress and Convenction Center.
The event gathered more than 200 people and high level guests including Elisabeth Köstinger, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (Austria); Cem Özdemir, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (Germany); Anne-Marie Descôtes, Ambassador of France to Germany; Georg Schirmbeck, President of the German Forestry Council as well as Paweł Sałek, Chairman of the Presidential Council on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (Poland). Virginijus Sinkevičius, Comissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries gave a keynote speech online. The symposium was not without experts of the National Secretariat for Natural Resources, Environmental Protection and Forestry, Trade Union “Solidarnosc” as well as representatives from Polish State Forests.
Ms. Köstinger in her keynote speech, stressed the multifunctional role of forestry. She highlighted that the European Forest policy should promote sustainable forest management, enhancing the multifunctionality of forests and regional added value. Ms. Köstinger concluded her speech by saying that forests and timber have never been the source of problems, but have always been the solution.
Mr. Paweł Sałek gave a presentation entitled “Polish sustainable multifunctional forestry as a tool for nature conservation”, strengthening the link between the Polish forestry model and ecological engineering with nature conservation. He added: “(…)In Poland, we benefit from natural resources, collecting and hunting. We have not lost a single living species. We are steadily regrowing populations of species that have become extinct in Western Europe (European bison, wolf, white and black stork, beaver). We are increasing forest coverage and improving the health of forest areas. Forest management in Poland is self-financing”.
The panel discussion was extremely engaging with a high-level panel consisting of: Alexander Bernhuber, MEP; Ulrike Müller MEP; Reinhardt Neft, EUSTAFOR President; Sven-Erik Hammar, CEPF President; Dr. Christof Bartsch, FECOF President; Max von Elverfeldt, ELO vice President. The main message of the symposium and discussion was that climate resilient and sustainably managed forests are the basis for the success of the EU Green Deal and the achievement of the EU’s climate goals. The were a number of calls to ensure that the EU forest policy is also focused on national solutions and at European level should take into account regional diversity, practical experience and scientific achievements.
FACE has been following this topic like on many other issues related to the management and conservation of natural resources. The federation was represented by Jaroslaw Kuczaj, who previously served as a FACE policy advisor and FACE vice President for Poland (2019-2021). At the event, he mentioned that foresters and hunters are essential players on the field of biodiversity conservation and restoration habitats.