Professional dialogue on the preservation of natural assets in forests

The LIFEinFORESTS conference 21-22 March 2017 in Sopron organised by WWF Hungary, Europa Media and their partners has been a great success, where more than 200 participants took part and shared the same opinion: achieving the goals of Natura2000 is a joint responsibility which can only be lifted to a higher level by close cooperation.

The international conference was organised in the frame of the LIFEinFORESTS project, focused on providing an extensive forum to learn and share experiences about close-to-nature forest management and nature conservation approach in Natura2000 forests.

“The high-quality and thought provoking foreign and Hungarian presentations, symposia and the field trip made the meeting a substantive forum where different interest groups could start real discussions about the issues of forest management” highlighted László Gálhidy, forest programme manager of WWF Hungary.“It is a significant progress that words concerning forest conservation management such as deadwood or microhabitat increasingly become part of the professional terminology. It creates a suitable basis for conserving and improving nature values more effectively” he added.

During the conference, Hungarian, Polish, Slovenian, German, Austrian and EU-level presenters examined the management of Natura2000 forests from several aspects. Through practical examples participants gained an overview about how to validate the conservation objectives and how to integrate them into forest management. The presenters introduced in detail the conservation possibilities of the Natura2000 values, and the available support systems for conservation development activities. They also had the opportunity to discuss legal issues.

Pál Bódis, coordinator of the LIFEinFORESTS project, highlighted in his summary: the fact that so many Hungarian and foreign experts appeared at the conference from the fields of forestry, nature conservation and science shows the importance of the topic. He added: “the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Sopron, being the host of the professional forum alma mater of forestry education, has highly contributed to the success of the conference”.

A poster competition “For Our Natural Forests” provided an opportunity for university students to present their scientific research about the treatment of Natura2000 forests. Works dealt with issues of close-to-nature forest management, forest treatment concerning species and habitats of community importance, as well as social and legal issues of Natura2000. The winners of the competition can take part in a two-day study trip to Central Slovakia, where they can experience the forestry and conservation practices and challenges of the region’s forests.

Videos of the presentations and the works of the students will be available soon on the project’s website: