In Italy, more and more forests managed in a sustainable way

In the last year the hectares of Pefc certified woods and plantations have risen to 892,609.63, Trentino Alto-Adige at the top

In the last year in Italy the forest area managed in a sustainable way has increased: 2021 in fact closed positively with 892,609.63 certified hectares with an increase of approximately 3,600 hectares compared to 2020. These are the data emerging from the new annual report of Pefc Italia (Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes), the promoter of the certification of good forest management. At a territorial level, 2021 saw the entry of certification in two new regions, Liguria and Calabria, thus bringing the number of regions and autonomous provinces to 14. Trentino Alto-Adige is confirmed as the leader, as a region with the largest certified forest area with 556,147.9 hectares, considering those cared for by the Bauernbund – Agricultural Union of Bolzano, the areas managed by the Consortium of Trentini Municipalities and by the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme in the province of Trento.

In second place Friuli Venezia Giulia, with 95,163.78 hectares, most of which managed by Uncem Fvg, while in third place Veneto with 74,410.95. Following are the certified forest areas of Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, Lazio, Basilicata, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Marche, with the first certifications obtained in 2021 in Liguria and Calabria. Among the regions in particular growth Lazio stands out, with the certification for sustainable forest management of the more than 6,000 hectares of the Presidential Estate of Castelporziano, one of the three institutional residences of the President of the Italian Republic: an area of ​​great naturalistic value characterized by a high level of biodiversity and recognized as a State Nature Reserve, the Estate it is an oasis that preserves delicate forest ecosystems characterized by a considerable variety of flora (about 1,000 species) and fauna (over 3,000 species).

In the region, the certification of the ‘Monti Cimini and Other Forest Districts of Lazio’ group, promoted by Findus, and of the Municipality of Rocca di Papa, with the support of Carte d’Or (Algida): two projects that testify the importance of the synergy between the forestry world and the industry involved in the protection of the Italian forest heritage.

2021 also confirmed the positive trend, already seen in 2020, as regards the number of processing companies that choose wood from certified forests: the increase, explains Pefc Italia, is 8.4%, with 134 new companies that have obtained the Pefc Chain of Custody certification, for a total of 1278. Geographically, most of the companies with certification of traceability (Chain of Custody) is located in the north (1051). Veneto is confirmed on the first step of the podium, with 287 companies, followed by Lombardy (211), Trentino Alto Adige (192) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (151). At the center, the certified companies are 175 and are concentrated in Tuscany (64) and Lazio (44). Finally, in the south, there are 55 companies, most of which in Campania (36); in Puglia there are 9 while in Sicily it reaches 5.

The sectors that have registered the greatest development are those of the first part of the supply chain that is, forest companies and the production of firewood and other fuels (pellets, wood chips, etc.), that of construction, which sees wood as a sustainable and renewable material if it comes from well-managed and certified Pefc forests. Construction brings with it a large number of products such as laminated wood, panels, floors, fixtures, etc. which are also growing. Other sectors that have seen an increase are paper packaging and furniture components.

“2021 was an important year for Pefc in Italy, marking a recovery of confidence and important activities for the entire wood sector, also in view of the important and challenging objectives that the European Union has set itself for the containment of climate crisis and despite the sharp price increases and supply difficulties: the programs and projects of the NRP have been finalized and it has been perceived, even outside the professional environment, that forests and wood will play a central role in this game “, he explains Francesco Dellagiacoma, president of Pefc Italy.

During 2021, Pefc Italia also launched the new Pefc standard for ecosystem services, the first released worldwide in the Pefc family.. Ecosystem services can be defined as the multiple benefits provided by ecosystems to mankind, starting from the ability to absorb CO2, contrasting climate change but also hydrogeological risk, the protection of biodiversity and the ability to perform tourist-recreational functions. Thanks to this certification, forest managers can further enhance, guarantee and communicate these additional benefits enhanced by the active management of forest resources.

The first area to enhance its ecosystem services by adhering to the new standard and receiving the Pefc Italia certification is the Cansiglio regional state-owned forest, managed by Veneto Agricoltura, which is part of the Pefc “ForestaAmica” forest certification group managed by Coldiretti Belluno.

“In recent months – comments Dellagiacoma – we have taken important steps for the revision of forest certification standards, with the strategic addition of Urban Green and the publication of the first version of the Ecosystem Services of Pefc forests: in the development of these documents there is It was a great participation on the part of academics, researchers, technicians and professionals working in various institutions, which tells of the importance that we have been able to build in the forestry sector “.

“The certification of sustainable forest management provides the guarantee that forests are managed in line with stringent environmental, social and economic requirements, balancing people, planet and profit – adds Antonio Brunori, secretary general of Pefc Italy – We are proud of the numbers we are recording and above all the interest in our initiatives, because they confirm the growth of environmental awareness on the part of all the players in the supply chain, from forest managers to consumers, passing through processing companies “.

“There is greater awareness and interest in safeguarding the planet – he adds – the Pefc certification is one of the tools identified for the protection of forests, the main bulwark against climate change. This is also why we will continue with our 360-degree work, which also includes raising awareness on several fronts thanks to numerous dissemination projects, including #TheTalkingForest, a cycle of webinars that allows us to tell the general public and consumers positive and real examples that have been able to combine business and respect for the environment, also thanks to choice of Pefc certified materials “.