They are involved because science has shown that:
So to combat climate change, the Italian Forest Fund
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
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:
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
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:
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
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):
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
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.
It is a topic that deserves a page of its own.
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
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.