Achievements for 2022/23

1.  Support for key outcomes from EU Biodiversity Strategy:

  • Ongoing promotion of the strict protection adopted for the 10% of EU terrestrial & marine areas, particularly old growth/primary forest, with non-intervention as its general default mode – allowing exceptions for managed habitats (secondary: grasslands, heathlands) and key threatened species
  • Development and joint presentation of key elements for a Restoration Strategy at the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) in Alicante, September 2022, by Wild Europe (Ladislav Miko, Erika Stanciu, Toby Aykroyd) and SER (Kris DeCleer)
  • Promotion of importance of ecosystem integrity (especially natural forest), non-intervention for Post 2022 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at COP15 (Zoltan Kun) in Montreal
  • Wild Europe definitional criteria used in large scale wilderness mapping for Iceland, a model project for land use planning and large-scale protection with restoration, launched by partner Wildland Research Centre with Wild Europe in Reykjavik by Environment Minister

2.  Promotion of key objectives in the EU Forest Strategy

  • Further promotion of a multi-criteria definition structure for old-growth forest (OGF)/primary forest
  • Non-intervention oriented definitions for strict protection, deforestation, degradation in representations to EC consultations
  • Implementing IUCN Marseille Resolution 127 for improved conservation support and cessation of logging in European OGF/primary forests; this was based on Wild Europe’s OGF Protection Strategy, passed by 674 votes including 93 Category A (including governments)
  • Further promotion of strict protection for the 3% remaining primary/old growth forest to be extended to 15% of EU forest cover – for maximum ecological function, consolidation, adequate buffering and connectivity of remnants (c of 6% total EU area)
  • Input into Close To Nature (CTN) forestry, including non-tree elements & mixed habitat with ecotones
  • Promotion of LEAF initiative (Last European Ancient Forests) for forest protection and restoration through collective representation, Early Warning System, capacity building

3.  Stage III of Griffith programme. Further usage of the 326,000 euro contract transferred by Wild Europe to Frankfurt Zoological Society, working in partnership on the following projects:

  • Promote adoption of Francesco Sabatini’s OGF mapping methodology and definition, in liaison with EEA, for wider EU Biodiversity Strategy implementation at MS level
  • Promotion of forest carbon model, distinguishing greater OGF storage capacity of unmanaged forests and the role of larger trees
  • Support for community enterprise, including retail, in Slovakia (Wolf Mountains initiative)
  • Promoting launch of Forest School and wider replication

 4.  Forest bioenergy programme

  • Development with Trinomics consultancy of RECCS (Renewable Energy and Climate Change Strategy) project proposal for reallocation of commercial scale forest bioenergy subsidies to alternatives: genuine renewables, demand suppression enterprise (insulation, recycling, fuel efficiency) and conservation of carbon absorbent ecosystems  
  • Representation to RED III Taxonomy – which now excludes usage of OGF/Primary forests
  • Lobbying plan for UK and EU in support of the above
  • Initiating an anti-forest bioenergy, pro RECCS alliance including liaison with consumer organisations, taxpayer associations, enterprise and investor interests 
  • Promoting further linkage of forest bioenergy and fossil fuel campaign networks, under the banner End Carbon Fuels, including webinars with high profile specialists
  • Liaison with finance specialist fossil fuel campaign organisations. Further exchange of good practice on representations to investor interests.
  • Inputs to RED II reform, LULUCF and biomass finance consultation

5. Large natural ecosystem (wilderness) area programme 

  • Formulation of our 10% wilderness target in Europe: 5% with all criteria, 5% characteristics but with relaxed scale requirement – review of potential for enlargement/linkage of existing areas (see 1 above)
  • Nephin, Ireland – the Coillte agency rewilding project for which we chaired the international launch. Support for a broader restoration funding initiative
  • Input to the Clima Carpathia initiative for Carpathian Mountains, and promotion to the Carpathian Convention conference in Belgrade, including environment ministers of the 7 member states, in October 2023
  • Presentation to the Global Conservation Organisation and Caucasus NGOs at Borjomi, Georgia on Clima Carpathia and subsequent liaison on potential for creating a network of large natural ecosystems

6. Development of national level strategies for wilderness

  • Promotion of the 5% core area of strict non-intervention protection with PES funding support for UK
  • Further promotion of the wild area definition in Europe
  • Active engagement with IUCN France Groupe de Travail and Coordination Libre Evolution network: promotion of wilderness strategy, Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) usage, action against Rural Law on de-wilding
  • Presentation to Reserves Nationales De France (RNF) anniversary conference
  • Support for Czech Republic wilderness strategy

7. Promotion of economic-enterprise agenda for conservation

  • Presentation on funding for conservation and the role of corporate support at the WWF global Paris Business & Biodiversity Conference in June 2023
  • Promotion of private sector incentives: reform of compensation payment agenda and full activation of Payment for Ecosystem Services agenda
  • Representation at the CBD COP in Geneva 2022, inputs to debate on Sovereign Bonds to prevent deforestation
  • Input to European Investment Bank strategy development, with proposals for its ‘climate bank’ vision to incorporate structured support for largescale restoration of carbon absorbent ecosystems
  • Introduction of “GDP argument” that agriculture and forestry represent under 2.5% of EU GDP yet the remaining 97.5% bears cost of subsidies and the impact of climate change or biodiversity degradation adversely affecting performance. Disproportionate lobby power needs rebalancing – with prioritizing of funding to incentivize conservation action

8. Development of key topic/strategy agendas

  • Roadless legislation: promotion of benefits and development support 
  • Proposal of reforms to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure
  • Capacity building for both conservation and enterprise sectors

Further information is available on all these initiatives, via

Objectives for 2024

1.  Old growth forest protection

1.1    Ongoing promotion of OGF Protection Plan

  • 10-15% forest cover non-intervention target
  • Definition, identification, mapping – EEA
  • IUCN Resolution 129 (based on Wild Europe OGF Protection Strategy) implementation
  • Direct link to maximizing Forest Ecosystem Services (FES)

1.2    Support for Forest Monitoring Law with comprehensive criteria

  • Promotion of landholder economic & enterprise incentive benefits
  • Advocacy for formal usage of ‘EU’ FES Guidelines document

1.3 LEAF project – proposal and implementation

  • Local NGO & specialist networks to identify and monitor
  • Remote sensing with ground truthing

1.4 Advocacy for update of 2015 EC Natura 2000 & Forests document

    1.5 EUSTAFOR project 

    • Revival of 2019 proposals
    • Assessment of social remit 

    1.6 Close to Nature (CTN) forest inputs

    • Greater focus on non-arboreal flora
    • Plan habitat mosaics with ecotones

    2.  Solid (forest) bioenergy campaign

    2.1 RECCS (renewable energy & climate change strategy)

    • Representation on UK Transition Subsidy and BECCS 
    • Report to be finalised by Trinomics consultants 
    • Promotion & Replication Strategy EC, UK, global, starting with UNFCC Bonn 
    • Soil carbon focus in Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience 
    • Alliance building beyond conservation sector – ongoing

    2.2 Shareholder Action plan

    • Being distributed for NGO action, global promotion
    • Projects for individual corporations
    • Clean Energy Index (Stock Exchange) project
    • Community Class Action model

    2.3 Fossil fuel & bioenergy network coordination

    • Promotion of “End Carbon Fuels” instead of “End Fossil Fuels” 
    • Webinars to build on coordination project initiated 2022

    3.  Wilderness protection & restoration

    3.1    Ongoing promotion of 2020 Bratislava Action Plan

    • 10% strict protection target
    • Definition of strict protection, non-intervention default 
    • Revamp of definition document
    • Link to Restoration Strategy, natural regeneration

    3.2     European Wilderness Forum 

    • Collective promotion & strategy for large natural ecosystem areas
    • Link to revamped EC Wilderness Register (based on Wild Europe design)
    • Linkage to 10% target – identification and rationale for new areas
    • Incorporating elements from item 4. below
    • Promotion of IUCN 75% rule

    3.3     Stage II EC Guidelines, wilderness & wild area management, N2000

    • Updated includes management for ecosystem services income (PES) 
    • Linked to NRL and EC Natura 2000 & Forests document (2.6)

    3.4     Support for Nature Restoration Law

    • Promotion of economic and enterprise incentive benefit approach
    • Alliance building beyond conservation sector – ongoing

    3.5     Restoration Strategy

    • Follow up to Alicante Strategy (from 2022 SER conference) 
    • CAP reform: Ecological Focus areas, PES incentives, food security

    3.6    Sundry potential projects – promotion

    • Forest restoration post wildfire
    • Extension of roadless areas

    4. Large area projects

    4.1    Fundatia Conservation Carpathia

    • Inputs to name, concept development and governance. 
    • Coordination of interim phase 

    4.2    TENT Scotland watersheds

    • Provision of original strategy outline, supporting partner European Nature Trust. 
    • Helping develop potential 250,000 hectare river catchment area restoration project in North Scotland, based on private:public partnership addressing threat of regional extinction to Atlantic salmon

    4.3    Mann Wood Forest Climate Model, UK

    • Characterised, catalyzed and underwrote funding for this model project, in support of partner Wilderness Foundation UK, purchasing a wood in Southern England. 
    • Concept of self-sustaining model, particularly for private sector owners: conversion from logging to non-intervention dedicated to address of climate change & biodiversity recovery

    4.4    Bialowieza Forest, Poland

    • Revisiting our project discussed with former NP Director and Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko during the logging crisis, to expand the NP tenfold encompassing adjacent UNESCO World Heritage area
    • Multi-agency discussions and presentations to NP and Forest Agency personnel

    4.5 Great Eastern Wilderness, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland

    • Supported Avis Foundation (Erik Balaz a WEF trustee) through partner European Nature Trust, linking them to partner Frankfurt Zoological Society: promotion documents, enterprise planning

    4.6 Sumava-Bayerischer Wald NP, Czech Republic, Germany

      • Original project to save the core areas from development and logging threats 2012-16 with political lobbying (all MPs and Ministers in Czech Parliament), economic valuation study and multi-media promotion for alternative strategies. 
      • 2024 revival of our enterprise implementation plan (endorsed by Czech Environment Ministry) and linkage to BayerischerWald to be assessed.

      5.  Individual country strategies, eg:

      5.1  France IUCN/CEL

      5.2  UK

      5.3  Germany 

      5.4  Czech Republic

      5.5 Ireland (Republic)

        6.  Endangered species

        6.1    Wolf, including Switzerland

        6.2    Bern Convention protection status

        7.  Economics, enterprise and finance agenda

        7.1    1-2 Day Fund Sourcing Workshop: FES/PES/CAP related to NRL, FML as forest step to coordinated agenda

        7.2.   Joint appraisal of funding opportunities to incentivise conservation  

        7.3    Animation of PES agenda: Online market place; ID, networking and certification of interim agencies

        7.4    Conservation input to the development & monitoring of PES related funding instruments

        7.5    WTO campaign for PES related incentive upgrade

        7.6    Engagement of corporate sector (follow up Paris presentation 2023)

        7.7    GDP and lobby balancing agenda

        8.  Capacity building, education 

        8.1    Short, medium and long-term strategy

        8.2.   Economics, enterprise, finance in conservation curricula and all NGO levels – project planning to strategy

        8.3    Ecology, climate, environmental topics in business, finance and land user curricula

        8.4    Alliance building, beyond the conservation sector: consumer, taxpayer, business, landowner, flexible farming and forestry interests

        Further information is available on all these initiatives, via