Academy of Science of Moldova in partnership with EU-funded FLEG II Program organized the International Conference on “Sustainable use, protection of animal world and forest management in the context of climate change”, held on 12-13 October 2016 in Chisinau (Moldova).
Approximately 150 people participated in the Conference, which hosted five research sections, among them a special section on “Forest Management” with two FLEG related topics: “Status and trends of forest resources evolution in the context of climate change” and “Forest governance and law enforcement”.
At the Plenary session Arcadie Capcelea, Program Coordinator from the World Bank and Doctor Habilitatus in Biology, presented an overview of the FLEG Program outcomes in the country. In particular, he mentioned the raised public awareness on forest law and governance issues and the major analytical studies and pilot activities focused on improving forest management in the country at local and national levels.
The forest sections were organized jointly with the open public session of the FLEG II’s National Program Advisory Committee (NPAC). More that 30 participants of this session, representatives of various forestry and scientific institutions of the country, made 20 presentations that were directly or indirectly related to FLEG topics.
When opening the session, Arcadie Capcelea emphasized that “the climate impact, a global priority, needs to be taken into consideration when planning any new developments”. In Moldova, with its low forest cover and scarce forest resources, climate change may cause adverse effects on the forestry sector. Moldovan forestry authorities will need to take this into consideration when making strategic plans.
Ion Ceban, Director General of Agency Moldsilva and chairman of the NPAC, expressed his deep gratitude to the audience and the FLEG program and FLEG team; in particular, for helping the country to address the sustainable development of forest ecosystems.
Several assessments done by local stakeholders during 2009-2016 with the assistance of FLEG revealed that forestry sector of Moldova is still facing challenges from unsustainable practices of the past and still difficult economic condition of the local population.
“Based on our estimations, Moldova’s forests are overexploited and revenue loss from unsustainable forest use – even considering only illegal logging and poaching - are huge”, said Olga Kazantseva from Ecological Society Biotica (Moldova). “Every legally logged cubic meter of wood can bring (or may not in the case of illegal logging) to the national or local budget around 111,9 Moldovan lei [or $6]. According to our estimations, it is possible that about 415 thousand cubic meters are additionally consumed in addition to about 500 thousand of the officially harvested wood, which is an enormous revenue loss. As for illegal hunting, game species are under huge pressure from poachers or abusive hinting, and the revenue loss is estimated at circa 20,6 million Moldovan lei [or $1 million] annually”.
“Approximately 14% of the country’s territory, 130 thousand ha of forest and 330 thousand ha of pastures, is managed by local public authorities, and these two main land resources are realizing only 10-20% of their true potential”, said Erii Prosii, chief forest management planning engineer of the Forest Research and Management Institute (ICAS Chisinau, Moldova). “Forest Management Planning, which helps to unlock the full potential of the forests and benefits the local communities, has been implemented in 17% (about 22 thousand ha) of Moldova’s forests, of which 7665 ha managed by 23 communities has been done with the support of FLEG II”.
“The difference between the traditional ‘industrial forestry’, based on the economic use of forests, and the 'ecological forestry’, based on close-to-nature principles of forest use, is not always clear. In the conditions of Moldova, where the demand for native forest products is still high and fast-growing species (including exotics, or non-natives) are actively planted, ecological forestry becomes the priority of the century in the forestry sector”, said Aurel Lozan, ENPI FLEG Country Coordinator for Moldova. “Not only decision-makers but also foresters who undertake day-to-day management should find a rational balance between the short-term economic gain and long-term benefits of the forest”.