They help farmers to pick asparagus and support foresters with salvage-cutting bark-beetle damaged trees: The EU – and especially countries like Spain, Poland and Germany – is heavily dependent on so called “seasonal migrants”, either from other EU Member States or third world countries. Bringing the issue closer to home, Germany receives around 300,000 workers per year for agricultural, horticultural and forestry work, many of them from Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania. Very often, they remain invisible. We asked ourselves, how many of these workers can we specifically find in the forest sector? What roles do they play and how can these be distinguished from the agricultural sector? How are the working conditions? And what can we do to make this issue more visible?
Author: Juliet Achieng
Despite their differences in e.g. climate, culture, and culinary preferences, you might be curious to find out what Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa and United States of America have in common.
The seven countries represent 42.7% of the global forest cover; and six out of the seven countries were among the top producers of forest products globally in 2018. Thus, the forest sector contributes significantly to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates a high number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs (FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment Report, 2015). But when we speak about jobs, do we know what changes are happening in forest-related employment in these countries? What are the major drivers of these changes? What is the state of forest-related green jobs there? How are the countries’ forest-related tertiary education programmes addressing these changes? And what is the future of forest-related employment and education in these countries?