Sometimes it is difficult to harmonize the core aspects of environmental concerns and forestry in protected areas. But forests which are part of the Natura 2000 network just do that: by following the guidelines it is possible to improve the ecological state of the forest while providing EU-funding to the foresters.
However, agreeing to common fundamental principles on forest management for Natura 2000 forests by all Hungarian stakeholders remains still a problem to be solved. To encourage this process and to identify possible obstacles, WWF Hungary has launched a comprehensive programme with its partners. The EU-funded, LIFE+ “Life in Forests” project promotes the cooperation and active communication between stakeholders in order to increase commitment to desired practices.
By bringing together forest owners, foresters, authority and environmental experts, and letting them exchange their experience among themselves, we help them resolve possible intersectoral conflicts. We are striving to develop management principles for Natura 2000 forests based on and agreement favorable for all stakeholders. Based on this we expect a two-directional cooperation and an increased level of experience exchange.
We put the emphasis on initiating a joined learning process with the active participation of stakeholders. Accordingly we organized several study trips and trainings within the framework of the project, as well as publishing manuals, developing a Natura 2000 Forest Planning Toolbox for forestry authorities, and also monitoring how the activities of private foresters might be redirected towards a more ecological forestry approach.
Our goals are ambitious: we would like to achieve the following by the end of the project:
- Increasing the number of foresters applying for the dedicated forestry funds of the Natura 2000 programme by 10 – 15%
- Increasing the knowledge on nature-friendly forestry of one-fourth of the district foresters working in the target areas of the project
- On the project target areas, increasing the scope of Natura 2000 forests by 20%
- Increasing the scope of well-treated Natura 2000 forests by 5 % on a national level.
Improving forestry methods is important to us, as it contributes strongly to prevent further decreasing of biodiversity and helps solidify the ecological and multi-functional status of European forests.
The 2015/2nd issue of the WWF magazine can be read here.
Source: WWF Hungary
Authors: Zsófia Joó, Viktória Siposs
Photos: László Gálhidy