Forestry leaders confirm their support for old growth forest

Europe’s largest forestry associations support old growth forest Attribution: European Union

Clear support for the concept and value of old growth forest was expressed by leaders of the European forestry sector at the seminal EU International Conference on Forests for Biodiversity and Climate Change in Brussels.

Hubert de Schorlemer President of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) – in grey suit – confirmed “If the small forests we still have which are really really old, we don’t afford to cut them down, no that’s clear“

Reinhardt Nerf, President of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) – in green jacket – stated “We see the very old forest as a focus of biodiversity and we take it out of timber usage” 

With the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy currently being developed, these statements on 4th February 2020 come at a critical moment when the EC needs to produce ambitious goals for protection and restoration of Europe’s most precious element of natural heritage, and an important icon in the campaign against climate change.

The statements from EUSTAFOR and CEPF were given in response from a question during plenary session from Toby Aykroyd, coordinator of Wild Europe: “Do you recognise the concept of old growth forest, do you recognise its ecosystem service value particularly in relation to mitigating climate change, and the need to fully protect and restore it?”

“In technical terms old growth forest is a late successional stage in primary forest. Essentially undisturbed, delivering maximum ecosystem service opportunity.”

After the conference, Toby Aykroyd commented: “We are delighted with these expressions of support. There is considerable common ground between conservationists and foresters in protecting remaining areas of old growth and primary forest generally. We look forward to continuing liaison to gain mutual benefits for the environment, land users and communities alike”.