The 2018 Annual Meeting was held in Weimar (Thuringia, Germany). After a 1/2 days excursion to city forest of Weimar ("Im Webicht"), with the main topics
the official meeting and a political afternoon took place in the music school near the castle of Weimar.
Three presentations lead to discussion about forest political issues:
The next days lead the excursions to Eibenstock (Saxonia), topic: "Returning silver firs to the Erzgebirge mixed mountain forests" and to “Beichlingen” (Thuringia) (forest enterprise Hatzfeld) , topic: "The forest-ungulate conflict", the ANW BioWild-project, Hatzfeldt administration: a vital and stable mixed forest with balanced forest-ungulate relations.
From 20th to 23rd of June 2018 more than 60 foresters from 18 European countries meet in Weimar. They are all members of Pro Silva, the European umbrella organization for the promotion of semi-natural forest management. The organizer of this conference in 2018 is the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturgemäße Waldwirtschaft e. V. (ANW) Germany, which with the great support of Thuringia Forst has prepared excursions and conferences by the team headed by Volker Gebhardt.
Why do you meet in Weimar? - "In Weimar, the heart of German history beats and at the same time forests in Thuringia and neighbouring Saxony offer the best examples of successful natural forest management," said ANW's Federal Chairman Hans von der Goltz.
Silvicultural and forestry topics are particularly interesting
The new president of Pro Silva, Eckart Senitza from Austria, would like to address forestry policy issues, where there is need for action in Brussels and European countries. Everywhere in Europe, but especially in Germany, more and more social groups make claims on the forest: adequate supply of good drinking water, more conservation, diverse recreation, hunting, etc. These claims mean for the private, municipal and state forest owners more expenses or reduced revenue. In order not to slip into bankruptcy or aggressive confrontation with the respective groups, these ecosystem services of the forest must be recognized, evaluated and financially compensated.
This topic was discussed with Mr Peter Löffler, from the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission (DG Env), Brussels. The technical framework is made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Municipal and Private Forest and of course all 50 members of Pro Silva Europe. We gave Mr Löffler the "Weimar Declaration" attached as an appendix for reflection.
The German translation of the handbook "Pro Silva Silviculture" was presented during the conference. It is now available in three languages ??and was developed by Pro Silva Wallonie together with international contributions as a silvicultural "toolbox".
The satisfaction with the events in the great setting of the Belvedere Palace and the very constructive and open discussion culture of the Pro Silva Foresters shows that at least in forest topics the united Europe is actively being lived.
Pro Silva is a European organisation which promotes close to nature forestry and continuous cover forest systems. It was established in 1989 in Slovenia. At present there are 22 full members of the organisation and there are also several other countries with associate membership.
Ine meeting of 2018 five new associated members were welcomed from the United States (Forest Steward Guild, New England Forestry Foundation), from India (ForEco India), from Brazil (ACEF St. Catarina) and Canada (“Les Amis de la Forêt Ouareau”) and hopefully this marks the beginning of the formation of a global network.
Pro Silva promotes its principles and concepts through a Europe wide program of silvicultural education involving seminars and excursions. Increasingly the members are also involved as partners in national or international research and networking projects. A European network of best practice demonstration forests is being developed.