Pro Silva Tackles Forest Threats

Pro Silva delegates from 25 countries, in front of Radlje Castle, Slovenia, 2019

Pro Silva Ireland has joined a call for action on at-risk European forests, while at home offering strategies to tackle threats to Irish woodlands.

Delegates to the 2019 Pro Silva Europe Annual Meeting endorsed a declaration calling for a major shift in European forest management after several years of unprecedented drought, forest fires and increased impact from pests and disease on the continent.

At home, Pro Silva Ireland has just submitted proposals to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on their revised approach to plantations impacted by Ash Dieback Disease, suggesting appropriate Close-To-Nature management techniques to mitigate its effects and convert former ash plantations to diverse, resilient forests.

Pro Silva Europe celebrated its 30th anniversary at the annual meeting in
Slovenia last September, where delegates from the Pro Silva Ireland committee
joined discussions on many familiar organisational and forestry challenges.
There are growing demands on all the Pro Silva country members, which are
voluntary organisations, to address the multiple environmental challenges
forests are facing.

Climate breakdown was a big topic with the ability of various tree species to adapt
being discussed and another key priority was how best to organise deer
management to enable forests to regenerate.

There was also much discussion of increasing biotic threats, such as the
devastating bark beetle outbreak that affected spruce across Europe last

As a result, the Pro Silva Europe Annual Meeting released the Radlje Declaration: “Forests in Europe Are in Danger– We Offer Solutions” which is being shared across the 25 member countries.

The declaration calls for a major paradigm shift in forest management, where
Pro Silva principles and practices of Close-to-Nature/continuous cover forestry,
developed over the last decades, are adopted to ensure forests are capable of
withstanding and mitigating the effects of climate change. (View and Download Press Release below)

The 2019 meeting theme was ‘Forests for the Future: From Science to the
People’. The meeting included indoor sessions and forest visits to thriving permanent, diverse (mixed tree species, mixed-age class) Close-to-Nature forests, that have been managed following continuous cover principles (as you can see below).

Pro Silva delegates from across and beyond Europe celebrating within beautiful mixed age, mixed species Close-to-Nature continuous cover forests in Slovenia, September 2019
Founding Members Bela Varga and Hubert Dolinsek met again after 30 years. Bela, from Pro Silva Hungary, will be known to many Irish members for his enthusiasm and advice for Close-to-Nature forestry to develop in Ireland.
Founding Members Bela Varga and Hubert Dolinsek met again after 30 years. Bela, from Pro Silva Hungary, will be known to many Irish members for his enthusiasm and advice for Close-to-Nature forestry to develop in Ireland.

Delegates reported the meeting was a fantastic success and a celebration of Pro Silva Europe’s achievements over the three decades since its establishment (for more information see the Pro Silva website).

Pro Silva has grown as an international organisation and is led by some of the world’s most experienced Close-to-Nature foresters. Pro Silva Ireland has benefitted from this expert advice and support since 2000

Pro Silva Ireland delegates were also pleased to report that Pro Silva Ireland is regarded as a very vibrant and active organisation that is inclusive and diverse. Pro Silva Ireland’s contribution to Ireland’s new Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) scheme launched last January 2019, was of particular interest to other Pro Silva member countries and seen as a significant positive development due to the urgency for change in how forests are managed for multiple environmental, social and economic aims.

At the meeting, Ireland had the honour of being selected to host the 2021 Pro
Silva Annual Meeting. The Pro Silva Ireland committee will be working hard to present Ireland’sadvances in CCF to Pro Silva delegates from Europe and beyond.


Download the Radlje Declaration “Forests in Europe are in Danger – We Offer Solutions” Press Release here

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