Planted Forests are a critical renewable resource for our future

This important international event is the third of its kind, highlighting the need to promote the multiple dimensions of planted forests and their sustainable management in view of the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Five of the major European Atlantic countries (France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) with large areas of planted forests have joined forces to organise this congress under the coordination of EFI's Atlantic Regional Office - EFIATLANTIC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Unión de Silvicultores del Sur de Europa (USSE) and the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO).

Since the two previous international conferences held in Chile (1999) and New Zealand (2003), new research, global assessments of planted forest resources and outlook studies for wood from planted forests, best practice guidelines and many interesting cases of country applications from around the world have documented and further emphasized the global significance of planted forests. In parallel, international processes and financing mechanisms have increasingly recognized the central role of planted forests for mitigating climate changes, conserving biodiversity and combating land degradation. In contrast to these positive developments, negative social and environmental impacts of planted forests have given rise to concern.

It is therefore timely to investigate the contribution of planted forests to sustainable development in the context of global changes and to organize this Third International Congress on Planted Forests.

Current issues surrounding planted forests will be addressed, alongside their productive, environmental and social functions and the challenges they present. The target audience includes scientists, policy makers, forest and resource economists, forest investment managers, the private forest sector and forest managers, as well as the wood industry, pulp and paper companies, bioenergy actors and the carbon market sector.

The scientific workshops will be hosted by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), a consortium of forestry interests in Britain and Ireland including the Forest Service (Ireland), Forestry Commission (UK) Coillte and University College Dublin and the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto (UCP-Porto). During the plenary, keynote speakers of organisations from six continents will contribute to a global perspective on planted forest development and a summary statement from each of the three scientific workshops will be made, emphasizing the specific role of planted forests in sustainable development. Three high level panel discussions will also take place to explore the role of planted forests in relation to current global issues. The event will conclude with the drafting of a summary report expected to be integrated into broader policy dialogues on the future of planted forests at the global, regional and national levels.

Plenary keynote speaker, David Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, says that he is “very excited about being able to contribute to this 3rd International congress, ten years after the last one in New Zealand which had such strong participation from all interest groups”.

More information is available at the conference website.

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