Portugal’s forestry companies want to expand the amount of land under certified management to 50% by 2018, from the current 10%, by simplifying process and reducing costs, the executive director of the association that represents the industry said on Thursday.
Sara Pereira, of the Association for the Competitiveness of the Forestry Industry (AIFF), said that a project called Certifica+ aims over the next three years, at a cost of €500,000, to “guarantee the future of the Portuguese forest” and boost the value of the country’s output.
Certification, she said, aims at a “balance between the environmental, social and economic” considerations, with the application of technical rules relating to the cutting down of trees or the state of soil, as well as local employment. While guaranteeing sustainability in the long term, certification also offers potential economic gains for proprietors, since they may want to sell their products in markets that “pay more for and value this distinction”, she pointed out.
Many countries only buy cork, paper or furniture that has been certified as being from trees from sustainable forests. Portugal’s level of 10% is “very little” for a country with such significant forests, Pereira said, adding that this is partly due to “myths” as to the complexity and cost of certification, which the AIFF project aims to dispel – as well as claiming to reduce the cost of certification by up to 50%.
The subject is to loom large at this year’s Expo Florestal, the sector’s largest trade fair, which is taking place from Friday to Sunday in Albergaria-a-Velha.
RCR/ARO // ARO.
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