27.03.2007 - European forest management agencies to participate in the EU renewable energy discussions 29.09

The 2nd general assembly of the European State Forest Association was held in mid-March. The main topic of discussion was the EU renewable energy policy.

According to Pierre-Oliver Drege (France), new chair for EUSTAFOR, the current focus of the association’s activities is bio-energy, biomass mobilisation and having forestry on the scheme of emission trade. Pierre-Oliver Drege said, “We believe that the potential of the forestry sector in terms of bio-energy production has not been fully realised and therefore we should be active on promoting networking, research and information exchange in that field.”  Vice-president of EUSTAFOR Georg Erlacher (Austria) added, “The mobilisation of wood is not just the question of private forest owners and we invite all forest owners, the governments as well as forest-based industry to co-operate in a wider manner.”

“It would be fair to other member states if Estonia reviewed its forest mobilisation policies,” the Executive Director of EUSTAFOR Erik Kosenkranius commented on the topic in Estonian context. “While other countries are trying to find further possibilities to increase European energy security, reduce the environmental impact resulting from the use of fossil fuels, and for this purpose to increase their timber production, Estonia is entangled in old forest policy stances and satisfies its energy need by burning oil shale. The decreased cut in recent years and the inevitably ensuing reduction in jobs contradict our simultaneous efforts to obtain EU funding for the promotion of our rural development.”

The members of EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, are European state forest management organisations which are responsible for sustainable management of over 45 million hectares of public forest land, harvesting annually ca 110 million m3 of wood and providing employment for over 111,300 employees.  There are currently 25 members in EUSTAFOR.

“It was interesting to observe how in many countries cooperation between the state forest management organisation and private forest owners has become closer,” said the Development Manager of RMK Andres Onemar, who participated in the general assembly. “Several state forest managers help private owners in the supply and marketing of timber and logistics arrangements in order to bring the privately owned timber of commercial forests into circulation. As in Estonia, up to 60% of private forests are not utilised in many countries because the owners lack economic interest in managing their forest. This, however, contradicts the EU goal to increase energy production based on renewable resources. Consulting private forest owners and inclusion of forests in forest management is one of the primary environmental goals in forest policy also in Estonia. Additionally, many state forest managers are participants in projects focusing on the use of logging waste and contribute to production development with their resources and investments.”

As of the beginning of this year, the EUSTAFOR office is located in the newly opened European Forestry House. In January, the Confederation of European Private Forest Owners, the European Forest Research Institute and the European Network of  Forest Entrepreneurs together with the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform moved into the same house.

For further information:

Erik Kosenkranius, Executive Director
Phone: +3249570 4559
E-mail: info@eustafor.eu