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SCB European Section Scientists Express Concern Over Proposed Logging Expansion in Białowieża Forest

The Policy Committee of the SCB European Section (SCB-ES) wrote a letter to the Polish Prime Minister, Polish President, European Commissioner, UNESCO and Council of Europe expressing concern about the Polish Government's plans to modify the existing 2012-2021 Forest Management Plan for Białowieża Forest. In the letter, Dr. Nuria Selva and SCB-ES colleagues highlight that the forestry practices proposed in an amended Annex set out by the Polish Government, such as salvage logging as a response to bark beetle outbreaks, break the limits of timber extraction established in the Forest Management Plan 2012-2021, and are not only unnecessary for the protection of the Białowieża Forest, but are counterproductive. Efforts by Selva and Polish scientists were highlighted in an article in Nature.


EU Commissioner Vella Eludes Plea for Better Involvement of the Scientific Community


In his response letter to our Statement “Scientists Call for Strengthening the EU Legal Framework for Nature Conservation” (see below), Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, declares the gathering of evidence for the current “Fitness Check” of the Nature Directives closed. However, we maintain our claim that a better involvement of the scientific community in the ongoing evaluation process, as well as in any other future undertakings of this kind, is crucial. The Europe Section of SCB, supported by its Policy Committee, will continue advocating for improving the science underlying the Nature Directives and their implementation. 

The Roadless Areas Initiative in the Brand New Handbook of Road Ecology


The Handbook of Road Ecology is out now, available for purchase direct from Wiley. The third chapter “Why keep areas road free? The importance of roadless areas“ was co-authored by three members of the Policy Committee’s Roadless Areas Initiative. Among others, the chapter makes the following important recommendation for traffic infrastructure planning:
  • Planning of new transport routes should identify existing roadless areas and avoid them.
  • Subsequent (‘contagious’) development effects of road construction should be avoided in roadless and low-traffic areas.
  • Unnecessary and ecologically damaging roads should be reclaimed to enlarge roadless areas and restore landscape‐level processes.
  • It is crucial to systematically evaluate the need for and location of proposed roads and implement the principle of ‘no net loss’ of unfragmented lands when there is no alternative.
     

 

Statement: Scientists Call for Strengthening the EU Legal Framework for Nature Conservation


On 19 October 2015, the Europe Section of the Society for Conservation Biology issued a statement that calls on European leaders to strengthen the EU legal framework for nature conservation. The statement is part of a long-term initiative of the Policy Committee of SCB’s Europe Section on improving the science underlying Natura 2000.
 
See above (EU Commissioner Vella Eludes Plea for Better Involvement of the Scientific Committee) for an update on this story. 

ICCB-ECCB 2015: PC Mission Accomplished


The Policy Committee of SCB's Europe Section contributed a broad variety of activities to the ICCB-ECCB 2015 in Montpellier, France, 2-6 August. We hope that our contributions helped ICCB-ECCB organizers accomplish the goal expressed in the congress motto: "Mission Biodiversity: Choosing new paths for conservation"!

Trip to Brussels


We are currently consolidating the agenda of our trip to Brussels on 26-27 May 2015. We plan to meet with Members of the European Parliament, the EU Commission and NGOs. Main topics will include engagement of EU policy-makers and Brussels-based conservation NGOs in the congress, the Common Agricultural Policy, the Habitats and Birds Directives/Natura 2000 (in particular, the ongoing Fitness Check) and current work on an EU forest/forestry strategy.

Annual Report


The 2014 Annual Report “Policy Committee of SCB-ES: Activities, products and outcomes during 2014” is available for download.

ICCB-ECCB 2015


Much of the work by the Policy Committee of SCB-Europe Section in 2015 focused on the International Congress for Conservation Biology - European Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB-ECCB 2015), which took place from 2-6 August in Montpellier, France. This included contributions to both the scientific programme and other activities (side events etc.).
 
We organised four symposia:
  • Symposium: The 100 priority questions for biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean-type regions of the world
  • Symposium: Roadless ecology and conservation of roadless areas across scales
  • Symposium: Natura 2000 – the status and fate of EU’s network of protected sites
  • Symposium: Green Infrastructure, connectivity, and the agricultural landscape
And one workshop:
  • Workshop: A Mediterranean basin SCB/IALE/ISOMED initiative: Targeting goals and action plan
We contributed individual talks to several other events within the scientific programme:
  • Symposium: Biodiversity and human development (Biber-Freudenberger, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany)
  • Symposium: Conservation at the cross-roads: how roads and other linear infrastructure influence conservation (Soanes, Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Parkville, Australia)
  • Symposium: Moving forward Strategic Planning at Scale: Lessons from Europe, Australia and the United States (Leslie, National Parks Service, USA)
  • Round-table discussion: EU Overseas Territories (Martinez, IUCN)
Other activities included the creation of three prizes that will be awarded at the ICCB-ECCB 2015:
  • Swarovski Optic Green Footprint Prize
  • Young European Nature Conservationist Award
  • European Nature Conservation Policy Award
We also promoted an eco-friendly congress through several activities. Apart from the Swarovski Optic Green Footprint Prize, this included a carbon-setting programme for transport to and from the congress, and a reduction of waste through the “Best Mug and Bag"competitions were we encouraged attendees to bring their own mugs and bags to the meeting.