The 9th of  February 2022 is already a historic day for the Italian forestry sector thanks to the publication of the National Forest Strategy (NFS).

Promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in agreement with the Ministries of Ecological Transition, Culture, Economic Development and the State-Regions Conference, the NFS is the culmination of a long participatory process that began in 2015. An innovative process consisting of meetings and consultations, which brought together different points of view and positions, some very distant from each other. In addition, the process included a public consultation on the first draft of the strategy, which received 286 contributions. Thanks to this complex process it was possible to define a strategy capable of harmonising and maintaining a balance between different objectives and visions, including the more conservative and the more productive ones. This path has also allowed the integration of innovative visions in the Italian forestry sector, which is often isolated or inward-looking.

The whole process was led by Prof. Davide Pettenella, founding member of Etifor, with the support of the National Rural Network. In recent years, Etifor has also actively participated in the drafting process, for example by organising specific events to present the first draft of the strategy, such as the one in Comelico in November 2021.

With a duration of 20 years, the NFS will represent a point of reference for the next national policies and for the different activities related to forest planning in the coming years. The strategy is already part of the path outlined by the TUFF (Testo unico in materia di foreste e filiere forestali – D. L.vo 03/04/2018 n. 34). In addition, to follow-up on the NFS, Regional Forest Programs, Territorial Address Forest Plans and Forest Management Plans will have to include elements of the strategy. Therefore, to see concrete results on the ground, we will have to wait for the Regions to transpose the strategy into their own programmes.

In order to make the strategy more operational, the Stability Law of 31 December 2021 allocated ten-year funding of €30 million for the first two years and €40 million for the third year onwards. This funding represents something unique for the Italian forestry sector and the hope that, in the coming years, the strategy can be truly implemented through concrete works.