On March 30, the European Network Integrate hosted the webinar “Policy challenges of integrating biodiversity conservation in forest management – the way forward”, gathering over 100 attendees. The webinar brought together forest policy experts from the French, German, Italian and Swiss governments to compare country perspectives and lessons learned on how to advance forest biodiversity conservation in Europe, in relation to the new EU Forest Strategy.
The presentations focused on the following questions:
What are the strongest arguments for an integrated approach towards the conservation of forest biodiversity – and if other approaches are preferred, why?
What are the main challenges for integrated approaches and how are these addressed in the four countries and beyond, both on policy and management level?
What do we expect from the EU policy and in particular the EU Forestry Strategy – how could EU policy best serve biodiversity conservation in forest management?
The event was organized by Switzerland as the current Chair of the European Network Integrate and European Forest Institute (EFI) as the Integrate Secretariat. The session was moderated by Dr. Helga Pülzl, EFI’s newly appointed Assistant Director for Policy Support, while the current Integrate Chair Christoph Dürr offered an introduction to the Network. The webinar included presentations by Dr Iris le Ronce of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Claudio de Sassi of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Matthias Schwoerer of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Prof. Dr. Marco Marchetti of the University of Molise in Ital.
The discussion focused on arguments for an integrated approach towards the conservation of forest biodiversity in Europe. In this regard, Iris le Ronce mentioned the importance of sustainable forest management as a solution to mitigate climate change in France. However, Claudio de Sassi said that the integrated approaches also come with many challenges in Switzerland, such as the promotion of public awareness, knowledge and best practices in policy-science-forest management. Moreover, Matthias Schwoerer highlighted the need for a balanced EU Forestry Strategy that includes climate change adaptation, biodiversity and the bioeconomy. In the same way, Marco Marchetti supported the idea that adaptation and resilience of our forests are key to maintain biodiversity in the future.
The webinar was synthesized in a colorful graphic by Alex Giurca.