To celebrate 10 years of rural networking, the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Contact Point organised the conference “NetworX - Inspiring Rural Europe’” on 11 and 12 April 2019 in Brussels. The conference was opened by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan. The value of networking for rural development was the core of the event, with an interactive format providing opportunity for discussions and sharing of experiences, reaffirming the value of human connections. More than 400 rural stakeholders from all over Europe attended including, Fransylva representative, Luc Bouvarel, and CEPF Policy Officer, Hélène Koch, representing European forest owners at this event.
During the session focusing on “Networking for Bioeconomy in the value chain”, Luc Bouvarel presented how French forest owners have been supported to actively manage their forests through the development of concerted simplified forest managements plans.
Over the past decade private owners' union (Fransylva) and regional centres for private forests (CRPF) have organised meetings to inform local elected officials and forest owners of how to better mobilise forest in areas with high potential. With throughout support and the use of IT based solutions, such as La Forêt Bouge, simple concerted forest management plans were developed for several owners. This work is useful for small-scale forest owners, as their forests are often economically unmanageable, but also for owners of larger areas that have the opportunity to share their knowledge and to have more weight in the negotiations with the sawmills for larger volume of wood. Thus, the network of actors involved all benefits from a better structured and managed forest, including the development of rural communities.