Wilderness at Natura 2000 biogeographical region seminar

The Biogeographical process within the European Union Member States aims at creating a platform which helps improving the implementation of the nature directives (Habitats and Birds Directive) in order to reach the headline target of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy:

Halting biodiversity loss and restoring ecosystem services capacities.

One hundred fifteen participants representing 14 Member States attended the Continental, Pannonian, Black Sea and Steppic Biogeographical Kick-off Seminar, which took place in Luxembourg from 28 June to 1 July 2015. The event was hosted by the Luxembourgish Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures (Environment Department) and represented one of the first international events organised at the beginning of the Luxembourgish EU Presidency.

Wilderness received attention during the discussions within the forest working group. Beyond the importance of non-itervention management, the relevance of the protection of the last old-growth forests was also highlighted. The report on the outcomes of this groups highlighted wilderness, also known as non-intervention management as one of the potential tools to steward Europe’s forests. The recommendations were the followings:

  1. exchange of good practices is needed in order to strengthen the last great places of wilderness in Europe
  2. awareness raising is required about the benefits of non-intervention management for biodiversity (and beyond)
  3. collect and distribute information about old growth forests is needed with special attention to how to reach Favourable Conservation Status

A representative at the workshop also asked for a clear target to protect at least 10% of the public forests as wilderness. At the same time, dialogue should be started with private land owners in order to develop cost-effective mechanisms for restoring wilderness attributes within private forests. The summary of the working group is available here.

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