Germany, May 24, 2015 Press Release
Every year European Day of Parks, promoted by Europarc Federation, celebrates nature with the aim of bringing people closer to nature and raise public awareness on the importance of the natural beauty preserved in protected areas and the importance of conservation and sustainable management of those places. This year the partners of the BioEuParks project join together to remember why “Nature is Our Business”. This year's theme, in fact, is perfectly suited to the objectives of the project BioEuParks, whose aim is to develop an efficient and sustainable biomass supply chain in 5 European Nature Parks (in Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary), and promoting short chains and small-scale installations. A best practice of sustainable forest management which will bring positive effects in terms of economic development and new productive alliances between public and private bodies, to enhance green economy within inland areas.
As reminded by the Slovenian Forestry Institute, one of the projects’ partners “Wood is the most important renewable energy source in Slovenia. In 2009 more than 330,000 households used wood for heating and this number is still growing. In Slovenia firewood is traditionally used for heating, however in recent year’s use of wood chips and pellets increased. In year 2011 around 1,700,000 m3 of roundwood were used for energy purposes (including bark), 70 % of which was used in households; the other 30 % were used in large energetic systems. The main goal of Slovenian energy policy for renewable energy sources is to ensure 25 % of renewables in the final gross consumption and a 10 % share of renewables in transport by 2020”.
In Austria nearly half of the country surface is covered by forests. As stated by the Sölktäler Nature Park, one of Austria’s largest nature parks: “The BioEuParks project shows that nature conservation and the sustainable use of biomass are compatible. On the basis of local supply chains the use of biomass in the Nature Park is analyzed in detail. Thanks to the project the proportion of regional biomass in the Parks heating plants will be increased. Our aim is also to strengthen the awareness for the use of regional biomass”.
In Hungaria the Danube-Ipoly National Park highlighted that: “The experiences of this pilot project in central Hungary showed that a combination of traditional activities and tools and modern technology can be the key of sustainable biomass use in nature conservation management areas. While the main role of the biomass in the protected areas is fulfilling their role in the natural ecosystems, the biomass resulted from nature conservation management could – and in some special cases should – be removed from the protected areas. Especially the maintenance of roads and the removal of invasive species and shrubs result biomass, which was not used for anything in the usual practice. The removal of this biomass of low value from diverse small sites in a huge area is not economically sustainable in the frame of the normal market processes. Local use with small distance transport, collecting the biomass by small scale manpower, using traditional ovens for energy production as well as BAT heaters operating with wide selection of biomass fuels can achieve both economic and environmental sustainability in the usage of nature conservation management originated biomass”.
In closing, not to forget that the purpose of the project is to improve the sustainable management of forests, not only in terms of environmental sustainability but also from an economic point of view: for this reason projects partners are developing interesting initiatives such the one in Slovenia, in Kozjanski Park, where the managers are trying to establish a private forests owners association that should reduce the costs of biomass production in private forests.
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