Stakeholder perspectives on forest carbon sinks

The eco2for project was presented at a seminar held at the headquarters of the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, with the participation of a hundred professionals from the public and private sectors who analysed the Spanish and European situation.

Photo: María Getino. Part of the group of attendees at the eco2for launch seminar at the end of the event.

The eco2for project kick-off, held a few weeks ago at the headquarters of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), brought together more than a hundred people interested in learning about some of the most relevant and most recent aspects of the value chain of forest carbon sinks, which were addressed in seven sessions by 22 speakers.

The inauguration was attended by the president of the Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático, Germán Glaría; the director general of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification, Mª Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho, and the director general of the Spanish Office for Climate Change (OECC), Valvanera María Ulargui.

In her speech, Rodríguez de Sancho pointed out the importance of forest management and grouped models to achieve profitability in forestry and provide the ecosystem services that society demands from forests. For her part, the director general of the Spanish Climate Change Office, Valvanera Ulargui, highlighted the value of the eco2for project as an example and a reference of how the forestry sector and forests can contribute to the fight against climate change. Ulargui also said that projects like this show how to work in the territory to achieve socialjustice, hand in hand with companies and agents of the forestry sector, and improve the contribution of Spanish forests in the fight against climate change.

Photo: Concha Redondo. Institutional speakers at the inauguration (from left to right): Rodríguez de Sancho, Ulargui and Glaría.

The institutional inauguration gave way to the technical sessions, led by the secretary of the Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático, Álvaro Picardo, who gave a general presentation of the eco2for project and its objectives, as well as the actions that will be carried out to achieve them. In order to achieve them, eco2for will focus on a model based on improved forest management, understood as a new typology of absorption projects, since a wide field of development is foreseen in the Spanish territory.

The programme was tailored to accommodate both public and private initiatives, and served to take a snapshot of the current state of the forest carbon sink value chain. From credit certification and carbon footprint registration, as well as access to forest property to implement offset initiatives; from forest genetics to market analysis; and from digitisation to knowledge transfer, to name but a few of the topics that were addressed at the meeting.

A real situation was observed regarding the existence of “many tonnes of CO2 registered, waiting to be transferred to the carbon markets”; the “need to establish simple but robust processes”, which should be adapted to be agile, attractive and to avoid dissuasive bureaucracy, was highlighted. The importance of digitalisation was also highlighted, because “a market without information will not be functional”; and the “growing demand for for training and expertise” was also highlighted, because more experts are needed in this area.

Photo: Concha Redondo. Álvaro Picardo, from the secretariat of Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático.

The limited access to land; the competition with PV plants for the use of this already scarce land, and the challenge of generating confidence in the owners of this land are also aspects to work on in order to improve: “We have a huge opportunity to be the largest sink in Europe, and our main challenge is to know how to take advantage of it”, it was pointed out at the closing round table, where the participants also agreed on the need for the “public and private sectors to move forward at the same time and in the same direction”.

About eco2for

The eco2for project has been launched to contribute to the climate change reduction through the improvement of the management of forest carbon sinks, also generating opportunities for private investment in the creation of new absorption projects, which, through this economic activity, will dynamise the rural environment and, in particular, areas with demographic problems.

The eco2for project is supported by the Biodiversity Foundation (Fundación Biodiversidad) of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) within the framework of the Spain’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

The partnership created to implement these actions is made up of the Foro de Bosques y Cambio Climático (Forum on Forests and Climate Change, as coordinating partner), the Cesefor Foundation, the CETEMAS Foundation, the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology of the CSIC (INIA-CIFOR), USAL-BISITE (Bisite Research Group of the University of Salamanca) and UVA-CAMBIUM (Cambium Research Group of the University of Valladolid).

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Cesefor is a Spanish private non-profit foundation. It promotes and provides funds for the Castile and Leon region in Spain while especially dealing with the forest sector, and its industry. The Foundation came into existence in January 2003 and since then it has been providing a dedicated service to the forest sector through various projects and business solutions.