Pro Silva Europe is celebrating its 30-year anniversary this September in Slovenia. It is an organization which promotes close to nature forestry and continuous-cover forest systems. Established in 1989 in Slovenia, today ProSilva has 22 full members and several other countries with associate membership, which is testament to the broad reach and interest of the organization’s principles. The Forest Stewards Guild has joined as an associated member strongly aligned with ProSilva’s vision.
“Pro Silva’s broad approach to sustainability, their concerns and associated management principles, and their approach to implementation make it a logical partner for the Forest Steward Guild. The success of Pro Silva Europe is a great example how foresters can successfully “cross borders” and the Guild hopes to benefit from more interactions in the future.” – Klaus Puettmann, Guild member
Pro Silva general principles:
Pro Silva promotes forest management strategies which optimize the maintenance, conservation and utilization of forest ecosystems in such a way that the ecological and socio-economic functions are sustainable and profitable. The general approach to management which is advocated by Pro Silva, includes market and non-market objectives, and takes the whole forest ecosystem into consideration. With reference to sustainability in its broadest sense Pro Silva members believe that forests provide four categories of benefit to society.
- production of timber and other products
- protection of soil and climate
- maintenance of ecosystems
- recreation, amenity, and cultural aspects
At their 2018 Annual Meeting in Germany, an afternoon was focused on “EU market incentive programs for ecosystem services provided by forests.” The discussions resulted in a summary titled “The Weimar Declaration,” which includes:
Society’s demands on forests are becoming more diverse and intensive. They are for the most part justified and therefore cannot be excluded or ignored. However, in all types of forest ownership across Europe, these demands are increasingly leading to additional organizational costs for forest owners and to a reduction of profitability. Naturally structured, continuous cover forests, as described by the “Pro Silva” principles, offer appropriate conditions to optimize the delivery of sustainable economic, ecological and social services from forests to benefit both today’s society and future generations. They are also a practical instrument for the implementation of the European objectives of rural development, biodiversity, climate change management and the bio‐economy at a relatively low conflict level.
This year Pro Silva welcomes 5 new associated members from the United States (The Forest Stewards Guild, New England Forestry Foundation), from India (ForEcoIndia), from Brazil (ACEF St. Catarina) and Canada (“Les Amis de la Forêt Ouareau”) and marking a hopeful 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.