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FOREXT met in Uppsala, Sweden

FOREXT met in Uppsala, Sweden

During the May 2024 meeting, the FOREXT members discussed the network’s strategy and objectives, as well as plans for future activities. Also, to learn from each other, the members presented a selection of their best cases, tools, and research results.

Some of the highlights of the meeting were a visit to SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and its Forest Damage Center, and a presentation and discussion on research results on Forest advisory services in Sweden. Also the Swedish Forest Agency demoed their My Pages-tool, which they have developed for mapping and supporting decision-making by forest owners.  Finally, European Investment Bank (EIB) presented the main barriers for investment in the forestry sector.

During a field trip the network met with a private forest operator providing advisory services, and heard an inspiring story of a female forest owner and her journey in forming a association of female forest owners. The group also visited a demonstration site of the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk) where different types of planting and management systems were discussed.

April FOREXT Friday on birch sap – recording now available

In April 2024, welcome Justas Mingaila from the Lithuanian Agricultural Advisory Service. He is currently working at LAAS as Specialist of Innovation Support. He is also a forestry scientist who worked on the topic of non-timber forest products, especially birch sap. He owns a small seasonal sap business, annually providing raw sap to a processing company. In his presentation he focused on sap, its harvesting technologies, business possibilities and why it is important – also bringing in his experiences as a business owner! Enjoy his presentation and the following discussions via our recording!

Featured image by R adept, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Mark Prior in HoliSoils Talks

Mark Prior from Forestry Commission is a member of the Stakeholder and End-User Advisory Board (SEAB) of the H2020 HoliSoils project. He participates in the project as an external stakeholder representing FOREXT and contributes to improving the development and results of HoliSoils as well as supporting its dissemination and exploitation.

In a recent video, Mark points out the importance of soils as key to woodland management.

Find out more about HoliSoils:

FOREXT Friday: EU-FarmBook

In February 2024, we welcomed Eduard Mauri from EFI to share insights into the EU-FarmBook and answers our burning questions about this new online platform. Eduard is the EU-FarmBook Ambassador for the forest sector in Europe, so this is a unique opportunity to talk to someone who is not only passionate about sharing knowledge but also has an insider’s view into the project!

What is EU-FarmBook?
The EU-FarmBook is a Horizon Europe funded project that is working at regional, national, and European level to build an online platform for gathering and sharing agriculture and forestry knowledge. The platform aims to become an interactive, multilingual meeting place for agriculture and forestry communities. Knowledge should be easily Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable according to FAIR data principles. 29 partners from 18 countries are contributing to the project that is funded by the EU, which will run from 2022 to 2029. Visit the platform at:

FOREXT met in Lugo, Spain

The autumn meeting of FOREXT in 2023 took us to Lugo, Spain, where the members were hosted by one of our newer members, University of Santiago de Compostela, Silvopastoral Systems research group. The three-day gathering focused on upcoming targets we want to reach and developing the network’s internal and external communications further.

One of the main decision-making items on the agenda was the election of new chair for the network. Dr Radek Rinn, who is the Vice–dean for Strategy, Development and International Relations at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague has been elected as the new network.

FOREXT in Friol, photo from USSE,

The final meeting day was dedicated to a field trip, which took the participants to a communal forest in Friol (Lugo), where they grow pine trees and breeding animal to avoid forest fires and also to get extra income. There was also a visit to Bosques Naturales, which combines growing high quality timber and animal breeding.

FOREXT at ForestPaths Policy Lab

Our chair Mark Prior from Forestry Commission, UK, participated in a recent ForestPaths-project Policy Lab as part of an interdisciplinary group helping the project identify policy objectives and stakeholder needs. Being part of major EU projects as stakeholders is one of the benefits of the FOREXT network. 

On 27-29 September 2023, some 15 experts came together with project partners to support the first ForestPaths Policy Lab with the aim of beginning to develop holistic forest-based policy pathways.  The project will co-design, quantify and evaluate forest-based policy pathways to optimize climate change mitigation, adapt forests to climate change and conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services.   Looking to focus on climate and Biodiversity Smart Forestry options through ‘next generation’ forest ecosystem and management models this, and future policy labs, will help the project explore and test solutions over the next few years. 

The event included excellent interactive sessions and a good opportunity to get to know participants and share experience.  FOREXT’s participation in the Policy Lab demonstrated the benefit of having our network of forest advice organisations, as it is essential that projects such as ForestPaths, that look to the climate and biodiversity benefits associated with European forests, take fully into account the needs and situation of the forest owners themselves, who at the end of the day have our forests in their hands.   

FOREXT coordinator at EFI changes

Meet the new FOREXT coordinator at EFI: Inazio Martinez de Arano.

He has more than 15 years of research experience, mainly in forest soil sustainability. Before joining EFI and working as the Head of EFI’s Mediterranean Facility, EFIMED, he served as coordinator of forestry research at NEIKER-TECNALIA in Spain (2004-2007) and as CEO of USSE (2008-2013). In these roles he has developed a deep understanding of the actors, institutions and processes involved in the policy making and, also, of the languages, views, needs and idiosyncrasy of different stakeholder groups. He has worked in policy-science initiatives both from the science and the stakeholder points of view. He has extensive working experience in European Projects (SIMRA, ROSEWOOD4.0, MYSUSTAINABLEFOREST, FORESTERRA, BEWATER, INCREDIBLE etc.). He currently coordinates the Bioregions Facility at EFI, and participates in several EU projects.

Our warm thanks to Nataša Lovrić who worked with the network from the very beginning, and has provided excellent and enthusiastic support in setting up and developing FOREXT.

FOREXT welcomes new members!

The following organisations are welcomed as full members of the FOREXT network:

  • University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Basilicon Consulting, Hungary
  • Agricultural Advisory Service, Forestry Service Office (LAAS), Lithuania
  • Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poland
  • Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW, Germany
  • Société Royale Forestière de Belgique – Royal Forestry Society of Belgium
  • University of Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Spain

The network met in Prague on 10-11 May 2023, with a field trip on 12 May. During the meeting, forthcoming project proposals were discussed, among other issues related to ongoing activities.

Our warm thanks to Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague for hosting us.

Next FOREXT meeting will be held in October 2023 in Lugo, Spain, and will be hosted by the University of Santiago de Compostela.