Important Terms from A to Z


Sustainable Forestry

Sustainable forestry means making use of woods and forests in a way and to an extent that their biodiversity, productivity, natural reproductive capacity and "health" are preserved in the long term. Only as much wood is used as is continually regrown. The aim is to leave future generations at least comparable, if not better forest resources and utilization options.

The principle of sustainability is enshrined in legislation in many European countries and can be found in wood and forestry laws. For example, in Germany, the Federal Forest Act (Bundeswaldgesetz - BWaldG, §11) requires such a form of management; the respective federal state laws (e.g. BayWaldG) regulate proper and sustainable management in more detail. Meanwhile, in Austria, the Austrian Forest Act (Österreichisches Forstgesetz, §1) requires sustainable forestry, as does the Swiss Forest Act in Switzerland.

In addition to forestry laws, since the mid-1990s forest certification organizations have issued certification schemes for products from sustainable forestry, such as the FSC label (FSC = Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC label (PEFC = Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Forestry companies, and companies that process raw materials and sell the product in the value chain can seek international testing and certification for the sustainable use of forests in their wood products or wood waste products. The purpose of these seals is to ensure full traceability from the finished product back to the forest management and prevent illegal logging. That is also why every processing company in the value chain must be certified in order for the final product to bear this seal of approval for sustainable forest management.

In the European wood fuel industry, legislation in many countries already guarantees that products such as wood pellets are produced with raw materials from sustainable forestry. Although much of the processed raw material of "wood" in Europe is already PEFC and/or FSC certified, producers do not generally offer biofuels with a sustainable forestry seal due to the considerable amount of documentation required and the cost of acquiring certification. And precisely because of the legal requirement for sustainable forest management in Europe, PEFC and/or FSC seals for pellets and briquettes from Europe have not been regarded as essential to date.

The Initiative Pro Klima also campaigns for sustainable forest management. Among other things, it initiates and finances climate research and climate protection projects in Germany, such as community reforestation campaigns in cooperation with the state forestry departments and the Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald e.V., an association to protect German forests. Several medium-sized companies (SMEs) that are members of Initiative Pro Klima sell solid biofuels, e.g. several Petronord companies.

Status: December 2015
All information subject to change. Errors and omissions excepted.


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