Planted forests make significant contributions to the economy and provide multiple products and ecosystem services. However, many widely used forestry trees are invasive – i.e. they spread from planting sites into adjoining areas, and some species cause substantial damage, featuring prominently on the lists of invasive alien plants in many parts of the world.
Afforestation and reforestation policies, both on public and private land, need to include clearly stated objectives and principles to reduce impacts of invasive trees outside areas set aside for forestry. To address this issue, the Council of Europe facilitated the preparation of a Code of Conduct on Planted Forest and Invasive Alien Trees. The Code of Conduct aims at encouraging national authorities to implement general principles of prevention and mitigation of the risks posed by invasive alien tree species used in plantation forestry into national environmental policies.
This new voluntary Code, comprising 14 principles, complements existing codes of conduct
dealing with horticulture and botanic gardens. The Code is addressed to all relevant stakeholders and decision makers in the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe. It aims to enlist the co-operation of the forest sector (trade and industry, national forest authorities, certification bodies and environmental organizations) and associated professionals in preventing new introductions and reducing, controlling and mitigating negative impacts due to tree invasions that arise, directly or indirectly, as a consequence of plantation forestry.
The Standing Committee of the Bern Convention is working towards the endorsement of the Code of conduct, and will discuss an improved document at the next meeting in December 2017.