Denmark is one of the country’s that has had the most deforestation in Europe. In 2006, the total forested area of Denmark add up to just over 534,000 hectares. Denmark has made huge strides in contributing to sustainable forestry in Europe with over 40% of Denmark’s forest now PEFC certified.
What is PEFC Certified and what does it mean?
PEFC stands for the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. This is a governmental, non-profit organization that operates internationally. It’s aim is to monitor the whole production of forest products and to ensure that these products can be traced back to forests that are operating sustainable programmes.
To achieve a certificate, forests must be inspected by a third party and rigorous checking applies. Timber and other products must be produced whilst respecting ecological, social and ethical practices. The end product, if the forest management passes the criteria, will then receive an eco-label enabling eventual customers to ensure that they are purchasing wood or other forest products that derives from a sustainably managed forest.
Forest Ownership in Denmark
About 65% of Danish forest land is owned privately. As seen in the photographs, the forests often belong to farmers and in many cases the woodlands and small forest areas are passed down from generation to generation.
Some forest land is bought for hunting or recreation, but whatever the case may be the main objective in Denmark is to sustain the forests and a large emphasis is placed on conservation, and not just commercial value. In recent years, Danish forestry has been under pressure, and for some farmers and forest owners, finding another source of income is imperative.
The Role of the Danish Forest Association
The Dansk Skovforening or Danish Forest Association represents the interests of forest owners in Denmark. The main aim of this association is to advocate sustainable forest management through protecting nature and conservation, whilst still promoting the professional interests of forest owners.
The Danish Forest Association (DFA) aid in educating forest owners regarding the wood and other forest products marketed. It also is responsible for providing information to the public on forests. The DFA actually owns an international wood exporting company. Furthermore the DFA releases it’s own monthly journal called Skoven or ‘The Forest‘.
Biodiversity and forest protection
Between the years of 2004 and 2009 the Danish government set up an action plan for Nature Conservation and biodiversity. Approximately 4% of Denmark’s forests are protected by Natura 2000 or the Sustainable Forestry protection schemes. Any changes to the use of forest land are regulated by the Danish protection legislation. The action plan aims to protect Denmark from the loss of biological diversity within the forests, one of the main objectives was to halve the loss of biodiversity by the year 2010.
By the time the action plan came into effect Denmark had already come a long way in conservation in general including measures that had stopped the use of dangerous, toxic chemicals, reduced air pollution and halved the decline of natural areas. Many species that had previously been classed as ‘rare’ or at risk were on the rise in Denmark such as orchids, certain insects, tree frogs, birds and deer.
The government of Denmark have played a large and proactive role in contributing to the European Union’s targets on sustainability in 2020. Although, as a country, Denmark still has a long way to go go to meet its targets and preserve biological diversity whilst balancing the needs of a large population, their conservation and forest sustainability efforts are consistent and a good role model for other countries.
Below are the full-size photos of Denmark’s tree planting patterns.