In celebration of the International Day of Forests, IUCN Europe (the International Union for the Conservation of Forests) participated in “The Value of Wood Forum” on March 21, 2017. The event was organized by Revolve Media and hosted by MEP Paul Brannen of the Socialists & Democrats groups at the Residence Palace in Brussels. The event brought together policy makers and stakeholders to discuss the diverse benefits of wood and its place in the energy market.

The forum consisted of two panel sessions: the first, moderated by MEP Brannen, discussed Sustainable Architecture and Construction while the second, moderated by MEP Henna Virkunnen (EPP/FI), explored Wood, Innovation and the Bioeconomy.

IUCN contributed to the second panel debate with a nature conservation angle, reminding participants of the relevance of the ecological restoration of degraded forest ecosystems. In particular, IUCN pointed out the opportunities derived from the Bonn Challenge, a global target to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. IUCN was joined on the panel by Thorsten Arndt, from PEFC International; Patrick Worms from World Agroforestry Centre; Johan Elvnert from FTP; and Fanny-Pomme Langue from AEBIOM.

Alberto Arroyo speaks at the Value of Wood Forum as Thorsten Arndt and MEP Henna Virkunnen look on. Source: Revolve Media.

Alberto Arroyo speaks at the Value of Wood Forum as Thorsten Arndt and MEP Henna Virkunnen look on. Source: Revolve Media.

The forum launched the second annual Forest City Project, a public information campaign and exhibition organized by Revolve Media. The visual displays of forests from all corners of the globe can be found in the Park du Cinquantenaire from now until June 5, 2017. Alongside several other partners, IUCN has supported this project for two years in a row.

The closing remarks for the forum came from Jeremy Wall, of DG Grow in the European Commission, who mentioned the need to conserve the 30,000-different species of trees known today. He also discussed trees found outside of heavily forested areas and what we can do to try to regain the millions of these trees that have now been lost and that could provide real added value for both humans and nature.

This article originally appeared on IUCN’s website, available here.

IUCN is a membership based union and environmental network of government and civil society organizations with more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 16,000 experts. Created in 1948, IUCN is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments, and analysis in order to determine the best practices and set international standards to implement solutions to environmental challenges and sustainable development. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, IUCN works to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.

IUCN also recently contributed to an article on “Restoring the connection between forests and human health” as part of Revolve’s spring issue dedicated to forests. You can read the full issue here.