#WelcomeToMyForest – To make the voices of those who take care of forests heard

"Forests are decreasing in Europe." "Our forests are in bad, bad shape." "Deforestation is also a challenge in Europe." "Forest owners care more about money than biodiversity."... here are some of the arguments that can commonly be heard in EU level discussions regarding forests. However, the ones making them often seem to lack understanding concerning the reality on the ground. Who has ever seen a forest management plan? Who knows how and why a thinning operation is conducted? Who knows about the costs of forest management before any revenue can be made? Thus, increasing the knowledge among the public and policy-makers regarding European forests and forest owners is highly needed, and what would be a better way to do it than by giving the floor to the people who have dedicated their lives to taking care of forests?

Today, the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), Copa-Cogeca and the European Landowners' Organisation (ELO) launched an information campaign called "Welcome to my forest" on social media. In a series of video clips, forest owners from multiple Member States invite viewers to their forests to hear about what being a forest owner is like, what are the challenges they face, what are their objectives when it comes to forest management and what keeps them motivated. A reality far from the polemics and generalisations that are prominent in the media. 

After viewing the first ten testimonials, it is clear that forest owners are not a homogeneous group and there are as many different forests as there are forest owners. However, all forest owners have one thing in common — they all want to take the best possible care of their forests so that they can continue to exist and provide their many benefits to society today and for future generations. They also deliver an important message, often forgotten in the mainstream media: in the face of climate change, sustainable management of our forest resources is key, and we need to maintain a vibrant sector if we want to keep our forests healthy.

Therefore, the campaign partners invite everyone to follow #WelcomeToMyForest on social media and to listen to the forest owners — the people who by taking care of their forests are also taking care of our future.

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