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FAO supports efforts for sustainable management of Macedonian forests

Pelister mountain, Bitola, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Reliable information on forest resources has become critical for national planning and decision-making, and it is especially important for those countries working toward fulfilling their pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030.

With a workshop this week in Skopje, the forestry sector in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, assisted by FAO, took steps toward its goal of managing forest resources in a sustainable way and increasing the contribution of the forest sector to rural development and the national economy.

“Sustainable forest management curbs forest degradation and deforestation while increasing direct benefits to people, the economy, and the environment,” said Norbert Winkler-Ráthonyi, a forestry officer with the regional FAO office in Budapest.

The plan calls for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy to develop the methodology for implementation of a national forest inventory. The project also focuses on the development of a state-of-the-art national forest monitoring system to enable evidence-based decision-making in the forest sector.

This week’s workshop was aimed at establishing consensus among key national stakeholders on the information to be delivered by the future National Forest Inventory. It was attended by more than 30 representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the National Forest Enterprise, the National Faculty of Forestry, the State Statistical Office, the National Cadastre Agency, forestry experts, government focal points for the UN Conventions to Combat Climate Change and Desertification, NGOs, and international organizations.

Winkler-Ráthonyi, who is heading the project in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, stressed that state-of-the-art forest monitoring not only includes information on the size and growth or decline of forests but also on the role of forests in the conservation of biodiversity, in reducing impacts of climate change, and in the provision of other ecosystem services. Monitoring also can provide valuable information on forests’ socio-economic impacts, such as their contributions to rural livelihoods and to the reduction of poverty, he said.

Despite detailed and well-established forest management planning on the stand level, there is no up-to-date information available on the current state and trends of the forest and tree resources at the national level. The last country-wide forest inventory in the former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia was conducted in 1980.

This project will establish a baseline for future systematic forest inventories, enabling adoption of evidence-based policies and practices toward sustainable management of forest resources in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

16 February 2018, Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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