Wild Europe attains foundation status

A pan European remit for the Foundation

As of 2nd February 2022 Wild Europe is designated as a Stichting, registered in the Netherlands

Our objectives remain unchanged, although our new structure will significantly enhance our ability to secure these across a broad range of activities. While we are based in the European Union, our remit will still cover the whole of Europe: from Ireland in the West to the Urals and Caucasus in the East.

The Foundation will be chaired by Erika Stanciu, former Secretary of State for Forests in the Romanian government and President of Europarc Federation, now Vice Chair of WCPA for Europe. She is also founder / director of Propark Foundation, providing training and consultancy services, and Coordinator for Wild Europe’s Wilderness Working Group.

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Untrodden Mountains Project logo

Greece leads the way to roadless protection

Construction or extension of roads and other ‘artificial interventions’ has been banned across large areas in an Untrodden Mountains initiative announced by Prime Minister Kryiakos Mitsotakis. 

This will cover six areas under Natura 2000 designation across Greece, totalling some 97,000 hectares. 

Of course nobody disputes the overall value of roads, but ever denser networks in Europe are a key factor behind landscape degradation and biodiversity loss: causing direct mortality, fragmenting habitat and often promoting its deterioration, disturbing wildlife, encouraging invasive species and undermining tourist experience.

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COP 26 Climate Change Summit – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Billed as a last chance saloon to avert profoundly damaging climate change before the 2030 target date, COP 26 in Glasgow from 1-13 November 2021 was characterised by a spate of pronouncements and initiatives. 

What did it really achieve for climate and biodiversity, and how can this be built on strategically?

A few bullet points set the scene towards COP27 in Cairo.

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Massive IUCN support for strict forest protection

By a landslide 674 votes, with only 1 against, IUCN members called for strict protection of primary/old growth forest in Europe. 

Furthermore this protection is based on prohibition of timber extraction – and was backed by 93 Category A members, which includes governments. 

The vote, at IUCN’s Marseille Congress in September 2021, was in response to Motion 125, “Strengthening the protection of primary and old-growth forests in Europe and facilitating their restoration”. The Motion was coordinated by Daniel Vallauri of WWF France and based on Wild Europe’s Old Growth Forest Protection Strategy (2018) and sequel. 

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Perfect storm for a forest bioenergy crisis – and how to address it

Commercial bioenergy, a booming industry. Dogwood Alliance

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that forest bioenergy worsens climate change, with higher emissions than any other fuel including gas or coal, elements within the EC currently considering reform of RED II continue to give it their strong support.

There are however crucial opportunities, currently underexploited, for addressing this issue.

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Action Plan for a wilder Europe

Action Plan for a wilder Europe

Wild Europe’s Action Plan for large natural ecosystem areas – in EU and non EU countries – was launched on 11th January.

Described as ambitious but thoroughly practical, the Plan is strongly supportive of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and many of its key targets run in parallel:

Such targets are underpinned by recognition that adequate compensation must be paid to private landholders, alongside full activation of the Payment for Ecosystem Services agenda and significant support for carbon rich ecosystems from the Climate Fund. It is important to build common ground with inter-sector consensus to achieve this.

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Slovakian wilderness protection targets re-affirmed

President highlights targets at UN Summit

Major targets for non-intervention in national parks in the 2019 Greener Slovakia strategy were highlighted in a speech by President Caputova on 30th September at the UN Biodiversity Summit.

50% of NP area as non-intervention will be achieved by 2025.

75% will be achieved by 2030.

This clear re-affirmation should animate action to implement these protection targets in Slovakia itself, and be a useful catalyst for European governments generally. Another objective should, wherever possible, be attainment of IUCN Category I: complete non-intervention status.

President Caputova’s speech follows the unveiling earlier this year of a series of measures to strengthen environmental protection.

‘Model’ wilderness area in Alps based on Wild Europe definition

Gateway to the Sulzbachtäler/Hohe Tauern Wilderness © Josef Schrank

Author: Bernhard Kohler, WWF Austria

A wilderness area covering 6,700 hectares has been unveiled in the North West of Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, following formal designation in 2019.

This is based on criteria from the Wild Europe definition and comes under the aegis of the Salzburg municipality.

The wilderness area has great promise as a model for the restoration strategy to implement targets in the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy – echoing Wild Europe’s own objectives of strict protection for at least 10% of EU and non-EU terrestrial areas.

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Definition of old growth / primary forest produced 

Forest
Sometimes hard to define. Even harder to protect.

A draft definition structure has now been produced to support objectives in the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy for protection and restoration of natural forest.

Applicable throughout Europe, this definition was initiated at the 2017 Brussels conference involving input from conservation and forestry interests among others.

It covers an overview of primary forest together with its constituent elements of old growth and virgin forest – the latter a narrower interpretation used mainly in Romania. 

Your feedback is welcome please:

  • Do you have any comments on the definition?
  • How readily could it be applied in your country?
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