The 2018 FECOF General Assembly took place in the region of Catalonia

    As in recent years, the FECOF members came together in the autumn to hold their general meeting and discuss the future goals and areas of activity of their common European forest policy. In 2018, the communal forest ownership association of the region of Catalonia (ELFOCAT) hosted this event on October 25th and 26th.

    © FECOFThe year 2018 was unsettling for forest owners all over Europe. From the Iberian Peninsula to the Black Sea, disastrous storms, long-termed droughts, insect calamities and forest fires threaten the forests, which reached an unprecedented extent of damage. Thus, this year’s FECOF General Assembly focused the social services of communal forest management and explored, how forest management strategies are able to minimize the risks for future forests by adapting them to climate change.

    In the early morning, participants from all over Europe started on an interesting excursion to the communal forests of the Catalonian Pyrenean. First, they were introduced to an EU co-financed arboretum project of the local community, which was set up after a large forest fire to promote nature education, tourism and scientific research. As the excursion carried on, the main purposes of the regional forest management activities - fire provision and © FECOFtourism - became more and more apparent. However, other forest services like material and energetic use of timber are equally important for the local people, as are livestock pasture and game hunting.

    In the afternoon, the actual FECOF meeting took place in the city of Puigcerdà. Mr. Pierre Grandadam, the president of FECOF from France, welcomed the participants and gave a special thank to our hosts for organizing FECOF’s 2018 General Assembly. He also thanked former Vice-President Mr. Franz Schrewe from Germany, who did retire from his position, for the great cooperation during his tenure. His successor is Dr. Christof Bartsch, currently Major of the city of Brilon (GER).  In another personnel move, Mr. Maximilian Hauck was introduced as the new German consultant of FECOF’s technical advice. He will continue the good work of Mr. Alexander Wendlandt, who subsequently reported from the policy activities in Brussels for his final ap© FECOFpearance. He made clear, that for all European forest owners there will be a plenty of important political decisions ahead in the next few years on the EU level. Consequently, it is essential for the consideration of forest owner interests that the European forest family cooperates with a great deal of commitment. Mr. Wendlandt additionally pointed to the recently commissioned FECOF study on European communal forest ownership, by Prof. Max Krott from the University of Göttingen (GER) and set to be completed by the end of 2019, sensitizing to the characteristics and the needs of communal forests on the EU level. The assembled FECOF members agreed that a sustainable maintenance of the diverse welfare impacts that forest management supplies could only be attained by active political support, especially in communal forests. This is what FECOF will pursue in the foreseeable future.

    The next day of the event, participants visited the centre of Parc Natural del © FECOFCadi-Moixeró. The protected area of 41.060 hectare is a hotspot of biodiversity as comprising various climate-situations, altitudinal layers and a diverse geology. Forest management for the 17 communes in the park is determined by the Natura 2000 guidelines, ensuring the maintenance of this unique landscape. The conference ended in the city of Barcelona, where the FECOF members visited the regional office of the European Forest Institute (EFI). The Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of the Generalitat de Catalunya also welcomed the participants. The speakers particularly pointed to the characteristics and problems of Mediterranean forests, especially forest fires, further to discuss the potential management solutions together, which lead the 2018 FECOF General Assembly to a beneficial ending.

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    Ja, ich stimme zu.