Connected for Forests

Call for proposals: Medium projects
Priority area: Strengthened civil society watchdog/advocacy role
Project duration: 1 June 2023–30 April 2024
Project budget: EUR 48,574.31

In the last decade, we have been faced with increasingly frequent consequences of climate change, which have become more apparent and extreme (e.g., heat waves, droughts, floods, etc.). Climate change is one of the main drivers of decline in biodiversity. The Connected for Forests project addresses the loss of biodiversity in Slovene forests caused by climate change and exploitation of forests for economic benefits.

The solution to preserving forest biodiversity that allows for the normal functioning of forest ecosystems amid climate crisis lies in establishing protected areas, i.e. forest reserves. Ecosystems with a rich biodiversity also provide benefits for society. They filter water and air, store carbon, prevent soil erosion, provide resources, and offer a place for relaxation and recreation.

Forest reserves are natural forests left to develop naturally and are not subject to forestry practices. In projects previously implemented by our partners, it has become apparent that there is a need for systematic and comprehensive solutions that would address the lack of forest reserves on private land and aid in their establishment.

The project addresses the problem with an advocacy campaign. We will review existing strategies and study the subject legislation, directions, and potential good practices for establishing legal possibilities for contractual and managerial protection of privately owned woodland. This way, we will enable the establishment of small forest reserves (e.g., 1 ha and larger) on private land. By committing to waive their right to forestry practices in their forests, private owners will be eligible for compensation. At the same time, the land will still remain their property, which is regularly not the case in the establishment of forest reserves and protected areas.

The project addresses the lack of cohesion among civil society in the area of forest protection. This lack of cohesion leads to the lack of timely and professional response to sudden interventions in forests and little involvement of civil society in the process of adopting strategic and legislative documents on forest management. By bringing together the partner organization, drawing up a cooperation agreement and developing a response protocol, civil society organizations will have the chance to assume the role of advocates for sustainable forest management in a timely and professional manner. Moreover, they will be able to respond to poorly developed, reckless, and unsustainable decisions regarding forest management.

Contact person: Katarina Žemlja

Project promoter: CIPRA Slovenia, Association for Protection of the Alps

Project partners: DOPPS, Society for Observation and Study of Birds of Slovenia; Focus, Association for Sustainable Development