Forests have a central role to play in the transition to a carbon neutral economy, providing a multitude of services: economic; social and environmental. So, do we need difficult trade-offs among these three sustainability pillars? Should we leave our forests untouched for biodiversity or should we actively manage them to push the bioeconomy? The question remains open on how sustainable forest management can help make forests more resilient and how active management practices can help preserve biodiversity - to truly promote the well-being of all European citizens.
On Thursday, November 19, European Bioenergy Future 2020 will host a panel debate to discuss how the links between sustainable forest management, preservation of biodiversity, and climate change mitigation will unfold in the coming years.
Moderated by Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General, Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), the discussion will bring together policy experts from the European Parliament (Petri Sarvamaa, MEP, Rapporteur European Forest Strategy (TBC), forestry expert Harald Mauser (Liaison Officer, European Forest Institute), NGOs representative Linde Zuidema (Forest and Climate Campaigner, FERN) and Bioenergy Europe Secretary General, Jean-Marc Jossart.
Forest management needs to be tailored to local and regional realities. Yet, these practices must aim at increasing carbon sink and carbon storage, while providing an alternative to fossil-fuels through better use of renewables and sustainable products, and ultimately make our forests more resilient to natural occurrences (forest fires, wind storms, pests and diseases).
Reducing to a minimum or putting a complete ban on forest management and wood harvesting will have the adverse effect of maintaining a high dependence on fossil fuels, due to a lack of alternatives. While this lack of management also increases the risk of disturbance with the current climate change, the high demand for wood-based products would force EU Member States to rely on imports from other regions of the world, bringing with it significant increases in CO2 emissions and the inability to ensure that these products are sustainably sourced.
Under these circumstances, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is an opportunity to increase carbon sequestration, leading to the creation of employment for both foresters and the associated forest value chain.
Bioenergy Europe initiates the conversation at this year’s EBF – providing a premise for stakeholders to understand what sustainable and active management of forests entail, how these practices can fully contribute to EU goals of preserving biodiversity. By putting forward opposite viewpoints of these approaches, EBF wants to trigger the interest and debate based on clear and factual positions.