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Forest management in the regions of the Four Motors for Europe

The past 22nd of October, experts in the field of Forest Management and Environment of the Four Motors for Europe (4ME) joined in a webinar “Forest management in the regions of the Four Motors for Europe” with the objective to share good practices, policy advances and lessons learned in the four regions regarding management and prevention of forest degradation, biodiversity conservation and rural development. In addition, the online event was an opportunity to develop the objectives for a new European Strategic Plan for the Treatment of Forests given the end of the previous plan 2014 – 2020.

Forest Management in the Four Motors for Europe

The webinar was promoted and organized by the Catalan Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda as a part of the program of the current rotating presidency of the Four Motors for Europe. The event is also part of the initiatives that are aimed at achieving the 2030 Agenda and the European Green Deal. 

The participation of representatives from the four regions in the event demonstrated that there is a need to create a new plan that foresees the new pressing challenges caused by climate change in the local forests ecosystems, which at the same time has to adapt to the characteristics of the forests in each region. 

After the institutional opening by Anna Sanitjas, Director General of Forests Ecosystems and Management of the Environment of the Government of Catalonia, Marc de SMET, Policy Officer at the DG Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission provided a presentation keynote speech detailing the main elements and objectives of the new EU forest strategy for 2030. Stimulated by the new pressing challenges caused by climate change, this plan seeks to adapt our forests to these new conditions so that they can continue with its sustainable socio-economic functions and reassuring prosperous rural areas. The plan also anticipates support for restoration and expansion of EU forests to combat climate change, reverse the loss of biodiversity, guarantee resistant and multifunctional forest ecosystems and proceed an efficient control based on the collection and the analysis of data.

Enric Vadell, Deputy Director General of Forests of the Catalan government presented the advances in the efforts of prevention, adaptation and mitigation of forest fires in the scenario of climate change. In particular, he introduced the Priority Protection Perimeters (PPP) policy tool that is being implemented in Catalonia and explained the importance of this particular planning strategy and the need to prioritize the implementation of prevention policies towards those more fragile areas. According to the Enric Vadell, the forest management in PPP provides better territory resistance and biodiversity adaptation, while at the same time it collaborates with the local economy. In his conclusion remarks he also sent a message to all the participants that the only and most effective solution is the preservation and  maintenance of the agricultural activity in the territory. 

Matthieu Rousset, Head of Unit - Site of Clermont-Ferrand and Loïc Casset, General Coordinator of the organization from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes presented the initiative "Sylv'acctes".  The objective of this initiative is to give priority to mixed forests which allow for a stronger natural regeneration. They argue that the success of the process is explained with the fact that it was defined with local agents and it has been supervised and validated by a scientific committee that guarantees the continuation of the good practices.

On behalf of the Baden-Württembergregions, Dr. Hartebrodt, Dr. Carolin Maier and Dr. Yvonne Hengst-Ehrhart from the ministry of Forestry economics and Management at Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt provided details on the “Model regions in Baden-Württemberg”. They also coincide in the belief that in the current context of climate change and increasing episodes of risk, the standard protocols used are no longer useful. They insisted on the idea that each region should create a new model of prevention and action in accordance with the size of the territory and its specific ecosystems.  An example of this new tailored model could be the strategies that are specifically implanted in the Southern part of the Black Forest. 

Patrizia Digiovinazzo and Gherardo Fracassi, technicians of the agro-forestry sector of the Lombardy region, presented the initiative "LIFE IP GESTIRE 2020", which currently has the financial support of the European Commission and is part of the LIFE + Program. LIFE IP GESTIRE 2020 aims to improve the management of the protected areas with the creation of a European Network that enhance the exchange of experiences, knowledge and strategies in biodiversity conservation between officials from different EU countries. 

To end the event, Muntsa Vilalta, Director General for Foreign Action of Catalonia, dedicated a few closing words to the participants. In her words, this event was an opportunity where each region could share its good initiatives, policy advances and lessons learned in terms of management and prevention of forest degradation, biodiversity conservation and rural development. 

This webinar was recorded and is available to watch again in any of the official languages of the Four Motors for Europe: Catalan, French, German and Italian.