Old Growth Forest Protection Strategy launched
The strategy developed through the Wild Europe conference in September for Protection of Old Growth Forest in Europe has now been launched.
A sixteen page document summarising the proposals is being circulated to the 149 organisations and individual experts from 28 countries who participated, together with a further 1100 contacts across Europe who were invited to the conference or otherwise involved in consultation and formulation of proposals.
"The objectives behind this Strategy are necessarily ambitious” declared Toby Aykroyd, coordinator for Wild Europe “But if the many organisations expressing an enthusiastic welcome for it are now able to translate this into practical action, these objectives can be achieved”.
A race against time
Ancient forest habitat is an exceptionally rich and fragile element of our natural heritage. Yet it is still under imminent threat of destruction in many areas. With rising timber prices, inappropriately located infrastructure, and even the impact of some misconceived renewable energy policies, there is a race against time to protect it.
Your comments on the Strategy are welcomed:
- How might be it be added to?
- How would you like to get involved?
- Do you know others who might also like to be involved?
- Can you provide information on areas of forest under threat?
New protection for ancient woodland – a welcome lead from England
Amid the gloom of Brexit with its uncertain outlook for environmental legislation, new planning rules in July 2018 offer highly welcome extended protection for ancient woodland in England.
This habitat, under pressure from new infrastructure and housing schemes across the country - with only 2% of original cover remaining - will now benefit from equal status to listed buildings and scheduled monuments.
Ancient woods, defined principally as existing continuously on maps since 1600AD, may now only be damaged by development for ‘wholly exceptional reasons’ – a phrase yet to be tested in law for this context, but its equivalent already provides stringent guardianship for built heritage property.
The next step will be a campaign to extend this protection to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with devolved jurisdiction over woodland issues.
Wild Europe is liaising on the Old Growth Forest Protection Strategy with DEFRA, the English Environment Ministry which also represents the United Kingdom as a contracting party to the Bern Convention.
Large Carnivore Management Best Practice report for European Parliament
A study collating best practice on protection management of wolf, bear, lynx and wolverine in EU member states has been produced by the EC DG for Internal Policies (February 2018).
It was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the EP Committee on Petitions (PETI).
The legal framework for protection is reviewed under conditions of derogation, along with measures to promote coexistence and implications for management.
While populations are recovering, the Study concludes that significant further endeavour is required to recover fuller functionality across former ranges where ecological and spatial conditions remain favourable or can be restored.
- Lethal control has little effect as a management measure
- Hunting worsens the impact of intolerance, eg poaching
- Wider dissemination of successful livestock management practices to mitigate conflict is crucial
- Compensation must be linked to such practices, and not operated in isolation, to produce sustainable outcomes
- More focus needed on promotion, communication and engagement of all stakeholders
New grant to enhance old growth forest protection
We are happy to announce a significant success for European old growth forest conservation following the September conference.
A grant of over 300,000 Euro has just been awarded for a mapping, ecosystem service and protection project involving a multi country approach with particular focus on key areas in Central & Eastern European. It will also enable work on policy impact, benefits of non-extractive enterprise for local communities, exchange of best practice and new funding models.
Wild Europe submitted an initial project proposal to the organisers in November. We then handed over to the Frankfurt Zoological Society (see footnote), one of our key partners who provided an application that adapted the Wild Europe version to their capacity and excellent work in the field, which was successful.
Close links to the OGF Protection Strategy for Europe
This project will be closely linked with the wider Old Growth Forest Protection Strategy currently being circulated by Wild Europe.
It is part of a wider international initiative to support primary forests - highlighting threats to their existence and raising their profile as major providers of ecosystem services. A further grant in excess of 300,000 Euro is being awarded for work on old growth forest in Russia.
More information will follow.
Footnote: Wild Europe’s current constitution precludes the holding of contracts, in line with our key operating principle agreed with our partners, to support rather than compete with them.
Global management guidelines published for wilderness protected areas
The IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, in tandem with the Wild Foundation, has published a comprehensive set of guidelines governing all key aspects of management for wilderness areas.
These are applied under all forms of governance - public, private, local community. They also address a range of management instruments, including rewilding and restoration.
A range of case studies are examined, including the Natura 2000 network, where EC guidelines for management of wilderness areas are based on a definition of wilderness developed by Wild Europe.
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Overview of wilderness target in Germany published
A key overview of the German Federal government’s target for wilderness on 2% of national territory has been published in the Journal for Nature Conservation. Other aims include 5% of all forests and 10% of state forests.
Germany is setting an important lead for Europe through this strategic framework, and the overview document titled More wilderness for Germany: Implementing an important objective of Germany’s National Strategy on Biological Diversity (JNC 42/2018) provides an authoritative insight into the rationale behind the target.
The definition of wilderness used in the target incorporates Wild Europe’s approach, also adopted by the European Wilderness Society. It is assessed along with consideration of the scale & location of areas which could be involved.
The task of reaching this target is regarded as achievable – a message which, alongside the good management practice that increasingly underwrites it in Germany and elsewhere, provides an important catalyst for other countries assessing a wilderness strategy.
Wild Europe programme 2017/18
Despite the uncertainties created by Brexit, 2016/17 saw further solid progress by Wild Europe.
A key focus has been the urgent need to develop a coordinated protection strategy for remaining ancient, or old growth, forests; this iconic habitat for the wilderness agenda is coming under growing threat as Europe emerges from recession, timber prices rise and illegal logging proliferates.
We have continued our support for developing model areas and national level programmes for wildlands and wilderness, alongside a range of projects designed to promote their value.
Objectives for 2017/18 have now been published. For a strategic outline of the previous year see Achievements & Objectives in 2017/18 More detailed reports are available on request.