The General Assembly of the Institut Europeen de la Foret Cultivee (IEFC) was held recently in Cestas Bordeaux, France. The current President of the IEFC Dr. Nick Mc Carthy WIT gave the ‘Rapport Moral’ to the assembled members both present and online via Zoom. The membership consists of delegates from both private forestry organisations and public organisations from across the Atlantic rim, Portugal, Spain, France, UK, Germany and Ireland. Having gone through a somewhat difficult period over the last three years due to personnel changes and changes in employment coupled with dealing with meeting during the COVID pandemic the President was able to deliver a few good news stories. The organisation is now back on a firm footing, with a team of five personnel, based in Cestas France and will work with a budget of over €500,000 per annum over the next 4 years. They have developed a Strategic Plan and Roadmap, which was launched at the meeting, to steer them through these next 4 years. This budget is due to securing funding through H2020, Horizon Europe, and INTERREG together with kind support from some of the regional and national governments such as Aquitaine Region France and Basque Country, Spain and the UK.
The link with the European Forest Institute (EFI) has also been secured with the announcement in November that the IEFC is to become an EFI Research Network on Planted Forests. This is all good news for an organisation which 3 years ago seemed to be in danger of disappearing. The organisation helps in bringing together Scientists, Public and private Practitioners, and forest Owners in dealing with the practicalities and answering forest owners queries about forestry through outreach, exchanges, summer schools, seminars and workshops.
A special emphasis has been given to its members launching new initiatives that should be of huge benefit to the sector: a specific fund to support cooperation between its members, a bi-monthly event on planted forest and website refurbishment to facilitate access to resources.
The President stressed that while the last 3 years had been difficult and focused primarily on stabilising the organisation the time was right now to get back to doing the outreach and extension work that it was originally set up to do.