Credits: Ana Marin, University of Malaga
Inventorying and mapping virgin forests in Europe is not just an interesting research exercise, or a conservation priority. In regions such as the Carpathians, where a considerable fraction of European virgin forest still can be found, the identification and protection of primary forests is formally required by an important regional international treaty. We’re referring to the Carpathian Convention. Signed in May 2003 by seven Carpathian States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine), the Carpathian Convention recognizes at the Art. 10 of the Protocol on Sustainable Forest management that ‘Each Party shall take measures in its national territory aimed at identifying and protecting natural, especially virgin forests of the Carpathians […]’. In this context, the mapping effort of FORESTS&CO could not pass unobserved by the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (SCC).
That’s why the SCC invited us to join the 6th Meeting of the Working Group on Sustainable Forest Management, held in Sopron, Hungary, last 16-18 May. The workshop took a stock of the situation about the data gathered so far for inventorying virgin forests in the Carpathians, and made some steps forward towards the definition of specific indicators to be used for identifying and mapping natural forests. It is all work in progress, but it was nice to see the SCC staff and the fellow members of the WG receive our inputs positively, and praise our collective networking effort. And we’re simply thrilled by the perspective of using our research to support the SCC.
Overall, the three days we spent at the workshop were great from several points of view. First, what a better occasion to see how the whole process of inventorying is going, and talk to colleagues working on it. Secondly, it was indeed a nice occasion for getting in touch with several stakeholders with different background, from the staff of the SCC, to various NGOs, fellow researchers and SMEs. Thirdly, we were able to meet in person many members of FORESTS&CO informal research network, look at each other in the face and discuss about the work that has been done so far and possible future steps.
All the contributions of the meeting are available here, including the presentation (from the European Environmental Agency) reporting the number and extent of virgin forests already inventoried. Let’s see how the situation will evolve!
UPDATE 31/05/217 – Here’s the point of view of the European Wilderness Society