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Reexamining the importance of woodlands

Organisers of the International Day of the Forest in Switzerland are using the occasion to highlight the importance of the country's woodlands, especially after December's storms which felled about 13 million cubic metres of wood.

This content was published on March 21, 2000 - 12:16

Organisers of the International Day of the Forest in Switzerland are using the occasion to highlight the importance of the country's woodlands, especially after December's storms which felled about 13 million cubic metres of wood.

The day is designed "to attract attention to the changing value of Swiss forests," explained the organisers, a non-governmental organisation called Silviva. The group said the difficulties of conducting sustainable projects in a shifting economic and natural environment, was best illustrated by the fate of the Silver Fir.

Although a "pillar of stability in forests", the Silver Fir's importance in the sustainable development of forests has been neglected. Silviva said it was concerned at the rapidly dwindling numbers of these trees. Over the past 100 years, its presence in Swiss woodlands has dropped from 20 per cent to 11 per cent. It also expressed concern that "on the Swiss wood market, the value of the Silver Fir is falling into insignificance".

Meanwhile the Senate has been discussing compensation payments following December's storms. It decided to split up the SFr 500 million package, put forward by the government, and win more time to consider the whole credit. For the time being, the Senate only wants to debate a proposal for SFr 150 million to be granted to cantons and the timber industry.

swissinfo and agencies

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