Webinar: Supporting Europe’s forests through Sustainable Forest Management and carbon certification

EIT Climate-KIC, in cooperation with its INFORMA consortium partners, warmly invites you to the first open webinar and discussion on “Supporting Europe’s forests through Sustainable Forest Management and carbon certification”. 

The webinar and discussion provide a virtual platform to share key insights and current (best) practices around sustainable forest management and forest carbon certification, as well as to learn more about INFORMA and how to collaborate with us further. 

Date: Thursday 7th December 2023
Time: 09:30 – 11:30 CET
Location: Microsoft Teams

Webinar agenda

Time (CET)Session
09:30-09:40Welcome, agenda overview, and intro question
09:40-09:50Presentation of INFORMA research project
09:50-10:20SESSION 1 Presentation by content expert: Forest carbon certification methodologies  

Speaker: Julia Grimault, Team Lead, Forest-based sector, carbon certification, Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE)  

Discussion: How can we build a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) framework in carbon certification that is robust enough to ensure transparent projects, but also cost-effective and implementable? What are the methods to monitor this carbon sequestration?
10:20-10:50SESSION 2 Presentation by content expert: Carbon storage in wood products certification  

Speaker: Samy Porteron, Programme Manager, ECOS 

Discussion: Forests offer huge potential in carbon storage, sink, and sequestration. How can forest carbon certification support climate-smart forestry economies?
10:50 – 11:20SESSION 3 Presentation by content expert: Managing supply and demand in a timber marketplace  

Speaker: Samuel Welsh, Forest Carbon Ltd
11:20 – 11:30What next? How to get involved Co-creating sessions on improved carbon certification in Europe

Climate-adapted forest management in high altitude: the INFORMA Northern Limestone Alps case study

High mountain peaks, rich wildlife and two national parks surround the INFORMA case study in Austria: the Forest Management District of Göstling, in the Northern Limestone Alps.  The district is part of the Prealps Unit of the Austrian Federal Forests, comprising a remote area of approximately 10,000 ha mainly covered by mountain forests with altitudes ranging from 600-1800 meters above sea level.

Although undeniably scenic, this vast forested landscape is also marked by contradictions. Historically, the naturally occurring Norway Spruce has been favoured by foresters due to its superior growth  performance and ease of management. But as climate change worsens and increases the occurrence of droughts, which weaken trees’ natural defence mechanisms, the species is becoming a common target of destructive bark beetle outbreaks.

As Norway Spruce is particularly vulnerable to climate change, the overall strategic aim of forest management is to reduce its share in species composition and establish mixed-species forest stands. To achieve this, measures are necessary to minimise another less obvious disturbance: ungulate browsing. The impact of ungulate browsing constitutes a severe problem for forest regeneration – both in the case of natural regeneration and of tree planting – and may require costly measures to protect tree saplings of species such as silver fir and beech.

Current management in the Austrian case study focuses on timber production in certain areas and on nature conservation in others, such as nature reserves where there is no human intervention or very low-intensity management. In managed areas, the main goal is wood production and the most common approach to harvesting is the strip-wise shelterwood method, in which mature trees are removed in a series of cuttings, enabling the stand to regenerate below the partial shelter of the remaining old trees. Regeneration may also be actively supported by planting. Other forest management goals include wildlife management, hunting as well as protection from gravitational hazards (avalanches, rockfall, erosion, and landslides).

The project activities in the area are led by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU).

INFORMA’s Scientific Committee Chair hands Foresters Board award to Spain’s former PM Felipe González

Destructive forest fires are increasing in Spain, and so is awareness of their connection to climate change. A topic worth more visibility, however, is how societal factors such as the abandonment of rural areas contribute to catalyse forest fires. With this in mind, the Spanish Board of Forest Engineers (Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros de Montes – COIM) distinguished the work of former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González in drawing public attention to the issue. The award of COIM Honorary Member was handed to González this October in Madrid by INFORMA’s Scientific Committee Chairman and COIM dean, Eduardo Rojas Briales, from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV).

According to the COIM, González has worked since 2016 to disseminate the circumstances surrounding the problem of forest fires and, simultaneously, promoted practical solutions, emphasising the importance of sustainable forest management and the development of the rural economy as the most effective means of prevention.

Eduardo Rojas Briales said „This is a well-deserved recognition because the informative work carried out by Felipe González is in line with the work that the COIM has been doing for years. We have always shared in our institution the concern about forest fires, but in recent years, this concern has intensified due to the significant growth of our forest area. It is worth remembering that Spain is not experiencing deforestation, but quite the opposite. This is largely due to the abandonment of rural areas. The lack of timely action exposes us to the serious risk of facing mega-fires that could jeopardise everything we achieved in recent decades”.

For the COIM, it is essential to focus efforts on land planning and management. In this sense, Felipe González emphasised that „when the degrees reached by this mass of fire exceed a thousand degrees, as if it were the La Palma Volcano, there is no water to combat it. All the water that falls on it simply evaporates before it hits the ground, but everyone is calling for more seaplanes, more helicopters… and specialists know that they are not working. This is really one of the things that shocked me the most because I was really focused for a long time on the technology and the available means of firefighting”.

The Board also believes that measures such as revitalising forest management and supporting extensive livestock farming are essential to reduce the intensity of fires should they occur. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of encouraging extensive farming to create and maintain effective separations between forest areas, while at the same time combating the abandonment of the rural environment in a coherent manner. As Felipe González commented: „We have to know this, because it is essential for governance and for the media, the landscape and the countryside. Local people will not always be right, but you have to listen to what they have to say. There is nothing that protects the forest more, and nothing that improves the fight against forest fires more than a landscape that is aware of what it is worth, especially if it has a communal value”.

Finally, the COIM considers it necessary to address the barriers that hinder the implementation of these actions, such as excessive restrictions on primary activities or the lack of management of small properties in the adverse context of climate change.

Source: Adapted from COIM press release „Felipe González, nombrado Colegiado de Honor del Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros de Montes„, 6 October 2023.