LATVIA NEWS: Forest certification - HD Forest chooses PEFC

New forestry contractor’s certification

In order to promote the competitiveness of long-term contractors who pay adequate wages to workers, comply with legislation and do more than others do, the PEFC Council of Latvia, in cooperation with stakeholders, have developed the PEFC Forestry Contractor Standard for Latvia. Certified companies will be published by the PEFC Council of Latvia on its homepage www.pefc.lv, when the first certificate is issued.

In Latvia, six forest cooperatives are registered at the moment, from which three are recognized by the government, including PEFC. HD Forest has decided to be a part of the new PEFC certification. 

FSC Standard Public Consultation
Until 31.05.2018, everyone has an opportunity to give feedback on the FSC forest management standard projects for Latvia. According to the predictions, the working group is expecting to finish the project in mid-2019. However, the FSC International has not confirmed the timeline.

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Forest industry celebrates 90 years of forest days and the association strengthens its communication with the society
This year is important for Latvia because of celebrating centenary and also celebrating 90 years of Forest days. For the occasion there is a lot of different events all over the year, but the main events were Forest ABC, which was held in Kuldīga and brought together more than 8000 pupils from all the country, but second one was held in Tērvete, which brought together more than 10 000 pupils also from all the country. The goal of events was to educate society in an attractive way and mainly pupils about the work of foresters and why we need forestry. Also Latvian Forest Owners’ Association (LFOA) took participation in these events. 

At the same time, in 2018 the association strengthens its communication with the society and is increasingly active on social networks. As one of the most successful projects, in cooperation with the industry, is Facebook account “Mežu Zeme Latvija” (translation – Forest land Latvia) where industry makes posts about wood use, good facts about forestry, why we need forestry and woodworking, what it gives to our national economy and society etc.

Poll for forest owners about EU support measures
At the beginning of April was the last round of EU support applications for young stand thinning. Right now, there is a discussion in the Ministry of Agriculture about what to do with funds, what is intended for afforestation activity, but is not used as predicted. In order to facilitate decision-makers' work, a survey is carried out. Let’s wait for results. 

Letter to the Prime Minister with request to support effective support for forest activities 
In the beginning of this year, LFOA organized a seminar in cooperation with regional forest owners' associations and cooperatives to discuss the forthcoming Rural Development Program (RDP) and its activities that would like to be prioritized. At the end of the meeting, a letter was sent and addressed to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture with a request to participate more actively regarding the questions; what is related for the forest sector at EU level as well as the priorities that forest owners want to see in the next support rounds. Priorities for activities that were set at the meeting: support for the young stands’ thinning, support for replacement of unproductive stands, co-financing for the use of planting material for forest restoration, support for forest land reclamation, support for afforestation, etc.

Challenges for 2018 – political support to the forest sector
Questions to political parties about their opinion and support to the forest sector, election in autumn, after elections resume the discussion about clear-cuts in restricted area near seaside and reduction of the cutting diameters, amendments to the Law on Protective bands, the struggle for the next RDP 2021-2027, proposals for changes in the amount of compensation for restrictions on nature conservation, a trainee in Brussels, Project “Well maintained forest property” 2018  and Knowledge Days in Finland.

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