EUSTAFOR (the European State Forest Association)

Established in 2006 EUSTAFOR (the European State Forest Association) represents state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The Association currently has 34 members in 24 European countries, the Italian member is the Associazione Nazionale delle Attività Regionali Forestali (ANARF).

EUSTAFOR serves as a common platform for its members to share experiences and to learn from each other. As a forum for European state forest management organizations, EUSTAFOR advocates the positive results of the management of state forests as a contribution to society, particularly in terms of achieving European sustainability strategies. Continua a leggere “EUSTAFOR (the European State Forest Association)”


Ogigia Wood, communication starts from the land

Ogigia Wood, a project to communicate on matters relating to the environment, farming and sustainability, is the brainchild of two journalists, Francesca Della Giovampaola and Filippo Bellantoni. The starting point was their personal account of cultivating a small plot of land (see photo), on the principles of permaculture. The land is being used to develop a food forest, which is a form of mixed cultivation that imitates the woodland ecosystem, in which there grow trees, bushes, vegetables, and everything that is needed to satisfy human needs, not just for food. Communication about the project on environmental themes is carried out through social media, mainly through videos that reach a large audience, with the aim of increasing public awareness of protection of the natural world.

The project arose out of Francesca Della Giovampaola’s interest in permaculture, a system which originated 40 years ago in Australia with the aim of halting the degradation of natural ecosystems caused by human activity. The word is a blend of the two words “permanent agriculture”, but can also refer to “permanent culture”. In the early days, permaculture was focused above all on farming, whose modern methods were accused of causing irreparable harm to natural systems. Soon, however, the attention of permaculturists widened to include other aspects of people’s lives, from the places we live in to social relationships. At a time of acute environmental, social and economic crisis, the messagge of permaculture is a positive one: our planet can continue to sustain us, provided we stop putting so much effort into opposing nature and instead start working in harmony with it. The application of the  principles and ideas of permaculture offers concrete answers to many of the urgent questions posed by our age: from the prospect of fossil fuels running out to climate change, from the population explosion to poverty.

Francesca Della Giovampaola says: “I like writing about the natural world, farming, healthy food, and respect for the environment and I thought that to do it better I would have to get my hands dirty because theory needs practice just as practice needs theory. In 2015 I took the Italian Academy for Permaculture’s 72 hour course, and I have carried on learning by doing a Diploma in Permaculture Planning. Ogigia Wood is my outdoor lab, my escape, my larder, my gym, my library and above all a place that is close to my heart”.

The preservation or recovery of the soil’s fertility is at the heart of every permaculture project. In Ogigia Wood, before cultivating plants, they cultivate the soil.  On this plot of land, which is located in the province of Siena, they are trying out new and old methods for increasing the humus and the vitality of the soil. The skills gained on the land are useful for the work of communication. The website deals with subjects of great interest today: how to produce high-quality food, protecting health, the energy crisis, climate change, pollution and so on. There is expertise, but also humour. Using videos, articles and other content, the site suggests ways of changing individual behaviour that can gradually be scaled up to achieve the much-hoped-for environmental sustainability. To support the project and follow the progress of Ogigia Wood you can follow them on Facebook, YouTube e Instagram, where they already have around 50,000 followers.

To contact Francesca Della Giovampaola and for further information:

Education – LEAF (Learn about Forest)

With this newsletter, we are always looking for stories that can provoke human behavioural change in order to not jeopardise future generations. This is why we are after examples directly linked to education, and that would, according to us, be both useful and reproducible.

This is why we were drawn to the Learning about Forest (LEAF) educational programme. It was initiated in 1999 together with the Foundation for Environmental Education in order to introduce the topics of environment and forests on school curriculums in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The programme for environmental education is based on eight principles agreed upon by these countries. Whoever wishes to join this initiative can follow and defend these principles. At present, the three founding countries still play a crucial role within the LEAF organisation, which has now spread to 26 countries (but not to Italy), involving 600 000 students from pre-school to high school. Continua a leggere “Education – LEAF (Learn about Forest)”

The World Future Council rewards the 4per1000 initiative

The World Future Council (WFC) is a foundation that works internationally to enable policymakers to quickly tackle the global challenges we face. The WFC researches the best policy solutions, and advises decision-makers on their concrete implementation. In the past ten years of its existence, they have organized more than 100 parliamentary hearings, study tours and workshops in order to spread those policies that they have identified.

THE WFC is based in Hamburg, Germany, with offices in Geneva, London and Beijing. One of the Council’s annual activities is the celebration of the Future Policy Award. The award is internationally unique, as it celebrates policies rather than people. Since 2009, the Future Policy Award has highlighted policies in areas in which policy progress is most urgent: Food Security, Protection of Biodiversity, Forests, Oceans and Coasts, Advancing Disarmament, Children’s Rights, Ending Violence against Women and Girls. Continua a leggere “The World Future Council rewards the 4per1000 initiative”

Other European State Experiences: Bialowieza forest in Poland

We often hear of individuals and associations standing up to large multinationals. Not only do the latter despise life protection, they also attack activists or associations by fining them or claiming extortionately high compensation. There are many reasons why private companies do this, the primary one being to “scare”, and buy time making their counterparts be constantly under pressure. And when – despite everything – their counterparts do happen to win the battle, they are then made weaker and isolated.

This is currently happening in Poland. The Białowieża forest is in the East and holds a highly rich and unique biodiversity. It is considered to be the last primary forest of Europe, hence the presence of national and European laws “protecting” it. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The current Polish government is destroying this protection. Backed up by the excuse of defeating the level of wood-boring insects in the first, the government has ordered to cut down over 50 000 trees, many of which are over a century old. On a summon by the European Commission (EC), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ordered the Polish government to cease the action, however authorities have ignored all appeals made by researchers, academics, NGOs, UNESCO, protesters and now the ECJ too.

Militants are currently patrolling around to protect the forest, using non-violent means, and collecting all proof of damage. These people must endure any form of oppression including threats, reports, and physical violence. A solidarity committee was created to stop them from being completely isolated: it needs signatures and messages of encouragement from all over Europe. Anyone interested can do so via WeMoveEU site.

Do not think this kind of support is “useless”. Try and remember the appeal, the time when several environmental groups were taken to Court by the Canadian company Produits Forestiers Résolu. They asked for 300 million dollars due to a loss of earnings caused by fines for their unsustainable practices in the Canadian Boreal Forest. Any civil society action is clearly being shut down. On 16 October the Federal Court of California rejected the company’s claim. The judges’ message is clear: the Canadian company must abandon the case and respect population rights, which would guarantee the survival of endangered species.

Those who supported civil society in Canada – even with a mere signature – can feel glad, but must not drop their guard! The ways multinational companies are overthrowing those protecting the environment are neverending.

It is important to know we are not alone, and it is even more important to say this to volunteers who are fighting for the Białowieża Forest.

4 per 1000 Initiative: Some data on national policies relating to 4per1000

An analysis on how a State can put a 4per1000 initiative into practice has been missing until now. The French Ministry for Agriculture filled this gap and, on 19 July, published a booklet (only in FR) entitled “Implementation of policies related to 4per1000 at national level”.

The starting points are clear: a) climate change is the top challenge for the agricultural sector, it has to be acknowledged by the large number of draughts and increasing environmental disasters over the past few years; b) promoting more carbon accumulation in soil is a strong contribution for the safeguard of agriculture; c) increasing organic matter in soil allows further fertility, which could confront the food security challenge as well as increasing resistance to erosion, and water accumulation.

The framework is well defined and gives full meaning to the 4per1000 initiative. Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 Initiative: Some data on national policies relating to 4per1000”