The European network INTEGRATE is currently comprised of 16 European member states and involves 50 representatives of policy and research related to forest and environment as well as the European commission. Its main objective is to encourage the international exchange of success stories on integrated forest management, which implies the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management.
The network was initially brought into life by German federal minister Christian Schmidt and his Czech colleague Marian Jurêcka, and subsequently supported by the European Commission’s Standing Forestry Committee. Forest management challenges related to nature conservation are rather similar across Europe. States within and outside the EU already plan on being actively involved in the network. INTEGRATE member states will provide forest areas on which their successful management strategies can be exemplified.
Nature conservation and biological diversity of forest management
Behind the network is a growing demand to increase nature conservation in Europe’s forests as well as the request to leave more forests un-managed, to take them out of the economic loop. These demands however, the latter in particular, are very difficult to combine with other requirements of the forests as well as with intentions of private forest owners. Moreover, as science tells us, setting aside managed forests is not always the best way to protect species and habitats in the cultural landscapes of Europe. Besides that, there is the urge to increasingly bring European forest management in line with climate change adaptation.
Cross-border transfer of knowledge for international nature conservation in practice
The INTEGRATE network fosters knowledge transfer across borders and aims for capacity building in the field of integrated forest management. A great feature of the network is the integration of science, field experience and practical examples into its pool of knowledge. Participants are able to exchange best-practice and success stories, and collaborate in answering questions that are particularly relevant in forest management practice: Are successful integrated forest management concepts applicable in different contexts? How do those concepts affect other requirements on European forests? What are the extra costs?
The European Forest Institute (EFI) will accompany the process in its role as facilitator and scientific advisor. Other relevant research initiatives are taken into account as well.
The overall objective of INTEGRATE (Terms of Reference) is to collect successful forest management concepts across borders, to deduct successful management practices and to formulate those into recommendations on how to practice sustainable forest management.
For more information see the Report of the Kick-off Meeting European Network INTEGRATE and the draft agenda of the first meeting in 2018, taking place in Plzeň, Czech Republic, on 19th – 21st March 2018.