The “National Forest Strategy” (NFS) comes into force: the measure that Italy has been waiting for

28 | 04 | 2022

In the 2021 report on Italy’s forests, Legambiente’s national president Stefano Ciafani called for the adoption of strategies to safeguard Italy’s forest heritage. According to Ciafani it is essential to:

“support the increase of forest protection with the permanence of sustainable human activities; improve carbon storage by applying certification and planning and the principles of sustainable and responsible forest management on a large scale; reconcile the need for protection with the growth of the circular bio-economy by improving the use of national forest resources to reduce the import of forest products for the supply of the wood-furniture chain; improving knowledge of the country’s green heritage in order to grow local supply chains and reduce management abandonment; guaranteeing the well-being of citizens by creating urban forests to increase the resilience of our cities; supporting the technological effort and productive innovation to use materials with a high carbon footprint as substitutes to reduce emissions into the atmosphere”.

Today, forested areas in Italy cover an area of 11.4 million hectares, almost 40% of the national surface. 68% is subtropical (oaks, pines…) and 32% is made up of trees from temperate zones (beech forests, alpine forests…): Italian forests, in other words, are extremely rich in terms of biodiversity, and guarantee excellent CO2 absorption. However, recent research conducted by PEFC and FSC Italy has shown that only 9% of Italy’s forests are managed according to environmentally friendly standards: this means that more than 90% of Italy’s forests are exploited without restorative reforestation.

The good news came in February, when a new measure – the only one of its kind in Italy – was published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale: it is the ‘Strategia Forestale Nazionale’ (NFS), a national strategic policy document for the sustainable management of the forest heritage.

This measure fills a long-standing legislative gap and provides a long-term strategy to preserve Italy’s forests. The objectives? To guarantee “extensive and resilient forests, rich in biodiversity, capable of contributing to mitigation and adaptation to the climate crisis, offering ecological, social and economic benefits for rural and mountain communities, for today’s citizens and for future generations” – as the NFS document states.

The “National Forestry Strategy” will last 20 years, which is a minimum time window for the implementation of the envisaged ecological policies and will be monitored every five years to verify and possibly update the objectives undertaken. Objectives that refer to climate, biodiversity and sustainable development, which according to the NFS strategy are divided into operational actions (at national level), specific actions (planned at local level) and instrumental actions (referring to policy and governance instruments to be used both at national and local level).

The “National Forestry Strategy” finally seems to be the right step to define forestry policies in Italy, also in view of European directives. In this regard, in fact, the NFS could represent to all intents and purposes a decisive push to pursue the objectives set by the European “Green Deal”, the 2015 Paris Agreements and the 2030 Agenda, consistently with the challenge of achieving climate neutrality in Europe by 2050.

Salvador has also decided to embark on a path that aims to leave a positive footprint on the planet. For each optimising saw sold, a portion of the proceeds will be invested in two projects that the company has decided to support together with WOWnature: improving the management of the Ralser Forest in the province of Bolzano and reforestation in an area of Burkina Faso.