Call of the forest… December 8 for World Climate Day!

If COP 21 and its famous Paris agreement gave an impression of the global need to act for the planet, the drought of 2022 anchored the same event close to home, as if the ecological mindset was (finally) activated in individuals. Good ideas, noisy decisions, management of our forests is a somewhat weak link of big environmental strategies. However, its conservation is a key asset for our biodiversity, both a global and a local issue… (visual DR/ONF).

Our Hauts-de-France region is of primary concern, its forest covers 13% of the regional area, i.e. 446,000 hectares, including 102,000 hectares of state and community forests, therefore more than 100,000 hectares managed by the ONF (National Forestry Office). does. Recall that ONF manages 25% of French and regional forests. France’s forest timber sector employs 400,000 people and offsets 25% of national greenhouse gas emissions. In Hauts-de-France, the sector unites 40,000 people in 8,000 VSEs/SMEs.

It is clear that the ecological power of trees is phenomenal in that it offsets greenhouse gas emissions. That is why the management of our forests deserves better than the drastic reduction of ONF staff since the beginning of 2000.

Of course, we are talking about solar energy with a significant increase in photovoltaic panel installations, green gas through methanation, offshore wind energy which is more condemned on land, conservation of species, bees, etc., but very little about forest conservation. . Admittedly, cities and inter-municipalities are starting tree-planting operations, local authorities are still happily cutting down existing trees that are sick for urban development, but in favor of the forest stricto sensu… several initiatives other than tree cutting are of course managed by the ONF, to sell wood … and in addition, self-financing!

Obviously, in addition to biodiversity, forest management is always about respecting our land and ultimately not dumping waste into the wild! Then, from a more global perspective, the environmental stakes are huge. ” The effects of global warming on forests have been identified since the 1990s, but three droughts from 2018 to 2020 have accelerated the decline of mature trees and major failures in natural or planted forest regeneration. Climate scenarios predict the climate of the Albion in 2050, and every other summer now corresponds to the summers of 1976 or 2003, sadly remembered… Today, more than 300,000 hectares of public forests in France are seriously suffering, and we estimate that 50% of the forests French forests will change in the next fifty years. This does not mean that it will disappear, but the appearance of certain stands will change. », comments Eric Marquette, ONF Lille Agency Director.

It is clear that without realizing the importance of our forests, their content will be degraded and therefore their role in regulating our climate will decrease year by year.

In Hauts-de-France, the problems are specific, as highlighted Bertrand Wimmers, director of Compiègne Agency. ” Three main problems have been identified in public forests in the Hauts-de-France: chalarosa (aerial fungus), which destroys ash forests; bark beetle (beetle), which destroys spruce; Death of pedunculate oaks and beech trees on sandy soils infested with beetles, which are very sensitive to drought and eat tree roots. Overpopulation animals (wild boar and deer), insufficiently regulated and large consumers of young shoots and forest fruits further weaken the natural regeneration capacity of forests as well as the plant biodiversity of the ecosystem “.

Each of us can participate in this conservation through the management of private properties managed by ONF or even communities, but the most important thing is not on the table, but the political vision of the forest and the means of its protection. Despite the fact that in 2020 the government decided on a major 300 million euro recovery plan to map, restore and adapt the French forest to climate change. Admittedly, the intention is good, but the funds allocated are very low, especially in terms of human resources. Specifically, at the national level, an ONF agent controls an average of 1,000 hectares… alone! Let’s bet that this December 8 World Climate Day will take meaningful and concrete steps!

Daniel Carlier

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