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FONDO FORESTALE ITALIANO

FAQ

They are involved because science has shown that:

  • climate change is caused by the excessive increase of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere;
  • plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere by storing it in growing wood;
  • the CO2 accumulated in the wood is returned to the atmosphere when the wood decays or is burnt.

 

So to combat climate change, the Italian Forest Fund

  • creates tall forests, because their trees live and remove CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years.
  • it conserves existing ones;
  • it keeps the forests intact and does not cut them down for economic purposes, so as not to risk the CO2 accumulated in the wood returning to the atmosphere. The only cuts will be those that may be necessary for the survival of the forests;
  • it creates forests on land of which it has full ownership or on lease, in order to protect them from any speculation;
  • it does not cede or sell its land.

Indeed, creating forests that become natural takes many decades, if not centuries. It is such a long time that it transcends the life of each human being and even normal collective action, whose boundaries are often limited by fiscal years or election deadlines. For this reason, creating forests seems a silly and naive idea.

It seems but it is not because, even if man is not capable of achieving anything on time scales of centuries, it is nature alone that grows and preserves forests, so man must limit himself to planting them where he has destroyed them and, above all, never to touch them again.

In today’s world of climate change caused by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, a long-term vision of the future is now indispensable to try to minimise the damage already done. Since all we have to do to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere are trees and forests, here lies the usefulness of an association such as ours, which has a planning

  • in time because the association does not just plant or plant the seedlings, but takes care of them and protects them over time.
  • in space because the entire country is rich in land that can be forested from scratch as it is no longer used for agriculture or farming. Furthermore, there is no reason why the project should not also take hold abroad.

 

Woods and forests are preserved for the children, but planted for the grandchildren
 The work of the Italian Forestry Fund is therefore a bridge that our generation builds towards the next

 

 

YES! In addition to reducing CO2 globally, the creation of new forests and the preservation of existing ones have very important and positive consequences locally:

  • it conserves soil moisture, counteracting desertification, a phenomenon directly resulting from climate change
  • it increases soil stability against avalanches and flooding, phenomena that are becoming increasingly frequent due to climate change;
  • it makes possible the repopulation of plant and animal species at risk of survival or no longer present;
  • it helps the development of natural sciences because the forested land will be a huge laboratory for scientists who will be able to carry out a large amount of studies, not only in the botanical-forestry field, but also in naturalistic and ecological fields in the broadest sense;
  • it increases the beauty of the area, making possible valuable economic activities related to tourism;
  • it has a positive impact on local economies as it requires activities on the ground that employ people and materials.

The ‘Testo Unico sulle foreste e sulle filiere forestali‘ is an italian law which interprets woods and forests almost exclusively as renewable energy sources: firewood and biomass to be used to produce energy. This interpretation of the Testo Unico is supported by the fact that, in order to achieve the 2020 targets for renewable energy sources, the 2018 Finance Act extended public incentives for operators of biomass-fuelled power plants. It is obvious that due to the combination of the Consolidation Act and the Finance Act, our forests will come under very strong pressure from industrial groups that want to profit from the incentives.   

The Italian Forestry Fund’s forestry operations will certainly not be the first to be carried out in Italy, but unlike in the past, the association

  1. owns and never cedes the land it forests. It can also create forests on land received on loan, but only if the loan is for at least 50 years;
  2. does not simply plant or sow seeds but takes care of the development of the seedlings at least until they are water self-sufficient;
  3. continues to protect and defend its forests from fire and speculation forever;
  4. proposes to activate volunteers in the area to follow the development of the local forests and monitor their condition over time, especially in anti-fire activities.
  5. does not make a profit from the forests and undertakes to only and exclusively carry out cuts that will be necessary for the healthy development of the forests. This is also to avoid harming the fauna that has settled in the meantime;

 

Points 1, 2 and 3 differentiate the work of the FFI from what others have done in the past and which, often, has been limited to plantation alone. There are in fact thousands of hectares that were reforested but soon turned barren due to the absence of:

  • care prior to planting, such as individual protection of the seedlings or fencing against wild boars;
  • subsequent care, such as shrub control and irrigation;
  • fire prevention.

Point 5 differentiates the activities of the association from those carried out for business.

For each piece of land we are interested in, we build an operational ‘project’ on which to pool funds through crowdfunding. The project also indicates all the necessary economic resources (purchase, possible landscaping, fencing, seeding or planting).

If the project obtains the necessary funding, then we move on to the purchase of the land and the realisation of the project; if, on the other hand, we do not raise sufficient resources from crowdfunding, we can

  • use any economic resources we already have, perhaps from sponsorships or legacies;
  • make a partial purchase of the land;
  • abandon the project.

In order to lower CO2 in the atmosphere, forests can be created anywhere, not necessarily in metropolitan areas or in areas where land is very expensive. Thus  Italian Forest Fund only acquires land that meets the following requirements (others may be added):

  • all the conditions for creating forests insist on it, according to the technical judgement of our experts;
  • they are accessible to mechanical means, but are far from transit roads to avoid the risk of arson;
  • they can be fenced against wild animals, who could damages young trees;
  • neither hunting nor herding is practised there;
  • are not desirable for building, farming or pastoral purposes (unless there is a local branch of FFI nearby);
  • carries out land purchases and forestations without ever exceeding the available funds, taking into account expenditure commitments made with previous forestations that must be followed for at least 4 years;
  • it never sells its land, neither those it has bequeathed nor those it has purchased. 

It is the only way to be sure that no one will destroy the forests we have created in the future.  For the same reason, we will never sell them!
Of course we protect our forests from illicit logging which is not unusual in Italy.

Yes, but only if they give them to us on loan or in concession for a reasonable period, say at least 50 years, enough to avoid speculation.

We plant tall forests and they could be usefully cut down in no less than 50 or 100 years, so the problem of cutting them down does not arise now and we can leave them undisturbed to absorb CO2. It will be our ‘grandchildren’ who will decide what to do with our forests, hoping that in the meantime humanity will have somehow solved the problem of excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

In any case, even if we wanted to cut down earlier, we would certainly not be able to produce firewood, since the combustion of wood brings all the accumulated CO2 back into the atmosphere. We could produce timber for ‘industrial’ activities such as boards, poles, beams for construction, but we do not want to do this because

  • we want to preserve the biological and naturalistic aspect of forests and we could not do this by cutting them down for economic purposes;
  • we want to fight climate change, not do business;
  • those who donate money or land to the FFI must be sure that they are donating to a non-profit organisation and not helping a commercial company that plants trees and then cuts them down.

Dead trees have great ecological value as a source of life for dozens and dozens of species of small animals, and they have always existed in forests, even when they covered the whole earth and the CO2 in the atmosphere was less than now.

We know that when a tree dies, it turns into necromass which is then decomposed, slowly putting carbon dioxide back into circulation, but our forests are tall and the trees will start to die not before 50 or 100 years, so the return of carbon dioxide will start then. And it won’t necessarily be a problem for our ‘grandchildren’ because in the meantime humanity will have somehow solved the problem of excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

We are not going to keep our forests ‘clean’ as many intend, because the FFI wants to create natural forests, left to their free evolution, not ‘factories’ of trees all lined up and covered like so many toy soldiers, trees sprouting on clean ground, without undergrowth. The undergrowth is in fact a very important part of the forest ecosystem, think of the flora and fauna it contains and nourishes, so we want to leave it to its free natural evolution, just like the trees.

The vast majority of forestry technicians and scientists (and also the common feeling of people) consider it very rare that a forest in Italy burns through spontaneous combustion. If it is not self-combustion, then the cause of the many fires that rage every summer is man-made: culpable acts (i.e. without intent, such as the famous ‘cigarette stub’) or voluntary acts.

In order to minimise the risks of fires caused intentionally by man, the FFI chooses land on which there are no ‘economic’ aims of any kind (pastoralism, construction, …) and activates collaborations in the area with municipalities and local associations so that the new forest is ‘socially’ accepted. In addition, local FFI sections liaise with students, scouts and other associations in order to monitor their forest.

In order to minimise the risk of fire spreading (whatever the cause) we plant the most fire-resistant trees among those suitable for the area. In our choice, we are guided by our Scientific Committee, which also indicates all the useful actions for our purpose provided by science, forestry practices and common sense. For example, along the perimeters of our forests we leave fire roads that we clean regularly.

Never! We want to decrease CO2 in the atmosphere, not compensate the activities of those who produce it.

We rely on the italian law of 5×1000 getting donations  of people believing in our project, our members’ dues, donations (cash or land), and testamentary legacies.  We also participate in national and international projects related to the fight against climate change, desertification and hydrogeological instability.

The Fondo Forestale Italiano is a unique  non-profit association, not only because it creates new forests and protects existing ones, but also because it has codified in its Articles of Association the following obligations and prohibitions that it strictly observes to protect the environment, donors and the non-profit spirit

  • obligation to create forests on land of which it has acquired ownership.
    Ownership is necessary because it is the only way for the association to guarantee the protection of the forests it creates over time. If ownership of the land is not legally possible, the association can be content with having it on loan for many decades.
  • obligation to maintain the forests in their natural state by not cutting or otherwise tampering with the natural dynamics.
  • ban on cutting trees for commercial purposes.
  • prohibition of handing over land. Forests created or acquired will never be left at the mercy of others.
  • Ban on giving away CO2 quotas.
    If we gave them away we would be allowing others to put as much CO2 into the atmosphere as our forests absorb. We would have economic benefits, but we would defeat our fight against climate change.

The impossibility of generating profits on the one hand certainly makes the association non-profit, but on the other makes it dependent on external funding. In fact, the association can only act to the extent that its activities are financed by membership fees, donations, bequests in wills, sponsorships and participation in national and international tenders.

Italian law stipulates that all land will be given to  non-profit or NGO with similar purposes

With regard with global carbon footprint, we are aware that our contribution will be small. However, we are confident that our example will be followed by others around the world.

With regard to local-scale mitigation of the effects of climate change, we can make a big impact. It will all depend on the extent of the areas we are able to forest.

Of course! Our forests will be a natural and ideal habitat for a large number of animals and plants. Of course, it will be possible to reintroduce species that were once native but have now disappeared due to lack of their natural habitat. The lack of periodic cutting will help the establishment of permanent fauna in our forests. The association will take all necessary actions to ensure that the introduced animals do not cause damage to the economy of the surrounding area. The reintroduction of fauna will lead to a further biological enrichment of the area and will have a positive impact on nature tourism.

Whenever possible, we will choose land so that our forests are ‘ecological corridors’ between existing forests. In this way, we will expand the living space of animal species that are already present, especially medium-sized ones that need more space.

As soon as possible we will activate links with schools in order to spread the FFI culture.

We will create a network of local volunteers to help with forest monitoring, especially in the field of early fire spotting.

These will be relationships of friendship and collaboration. Synergies and extensive collaboration are possible with all environmental associations, from the largest at international level to the smallest at local level.

FFI is not a scientific association, but an environmental association that uses the most modern methods offered by science and forestry practice.

We are therefore counting on having intense and continuous relations with the academic and professional spheres and, once fully operational, we will be able to finance scholarships and PhDs, perhaps carried out on our land.

Succesful planting of thousands of trees is not an easy game, thus we pay  professional companies to plant our forests.

FONDO FORESTALE ITALIANO

Creiamo nuovi boschi e proteggiamo quelli esistenti

Il Fondo Forestale Italiano Onlus preserva la biodiversità conservando e creando boschi su terreni di cui acquisisce la proprietà. Tutti i boschi sono lasciati nel loro stato naturale, senza tagli a scopo economico.