France on the barricade against deforestation

France has just adopted a new national strategy to restrict the import of forest-related products from areas that struggle with deforestation. Contrary to the more positive trends in Europe, the global forest area has decreased by 129 million hectares between 1990 and 2015, according to FAO data. This corresponds to twice the surface of France.

The strategy focuses on three main topics and three regions. The first and biggest problem is the cattle ranching and large-scale soy production in parts of Latin America, leading to vast deforested areas. The import of soy from that region to Europe represents 60% of the import with a high deforestation risk. The main issue in South-East Asia is the replacement of tropical rain forest by unsustainably managed oil palm plantations, accounting for 12% of the high-risk imported goods. Finally, the challenge facing West-Africa is cocoa production, which represents 8% of the problematic import.

These three goods together account for 80% of the deforestation-related import to the EU. The battle against illegally logged timber, thanks to initiatives such as the EUTR, FLEGT, REDD+ and GTTN, is in full swing. We should however not forget that the majority of global deforestation is caused by other consumable goods.

The strategy comprises 17 planned, built around bilateral cooperation, developing road maps and restricting imports from regions at risk of deforestation. The full strategy can be consulted here (in French).

 

 

Discussions on impacts of silvicultural interventions: the Falkenberg Marteloscope

from Andreas Schuck and Loic Duchamp

In the beautiful autumn forest in Vosges du Nord – Forêt de Bitche, France, we organized a training session with 44 foresters from public and private forests on 18th and 19th of October 2018. The Marteloscope ‘Falkenberg’ was set up in the course of European Forest Institute’s Integrate+ project, and it is located on state forest land in a Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park (French part of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Vosges du Nord–Pfälzerwald). 60%, or 76.283 ha of the park are covered by forest, composed of 58% broadleaves and 42% conifers.

One main conservation objective in that nature reserve is to increase forest naturalness. This is achieved by designating strictly protected areas and preserving or restoring forest composition and potential habitats in managed forests.