“We end up believing that the forest needs to be exploited to be in full health”

Ln August 2, the “Call for living forests” appeared in several media, which proposes to start a year of mobilization for French forests as of now. This call brings together a multiplicity of actors and relationships with the forest, against a common adversary: ​​the malforestation of industrial forests. We find, in this call, citizen collectives, alternative loggers, associations, residents, militant collectives, officials of the National Forestry Office (ONF) who reject productivism. People for whom a forest, and how it is treated, matters.

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The “Call for living forests” emanates from a movement that is still underground but powerful today: the citizen reappropriation of care for the ecosystems that shelter us. A “reclaim” [une régénération] defense of living tissue.

Major metamorphosis

If we support this call, it is because this assumption of responsibility by the citizens signs the beginning of a major metamorphosis: it is the reappropriation of a mission which had been confined to the States, trapped in serious collusions with the lobbies of destruction. Here, it is each one who affirms that he is woven in his environment, which defends the interdependence between him and his multispecies landscape. The founding affect of this movement can be summed up in a few words: we will no longer let the care of our living environments be confiscated – we are the living that defends itself.

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The second important dimension of this call is the plurality of approaches to the forest that it puts in relation. The alliance is open to a multitude of uses and practices, and what drives it is first of all to fight against a common enemy. The adversary of the forest is industrial forestry “and its world”: that is to say extractivism, embodied by the exploiters who are heirs to the ideology according to which forests are first and foremost reserves of material at our disposal, pure production spaces whose yield must be optimized. They are all those who reduce the forest massifs to wood factories by depleting humus, by weakening the soils, by reducing thousands of hectares of diversified forests to monocultural plantations of conifers which are neither welcoming for biodiversity nor for the inhabitants.

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But all exploitation is not destruction: there are forms of “soft forestry” which are inspired by forest dynamics while recognizing the value of wood, in economic logics which are no longer above ground but linked to issues. social and local, care for the work and know-how of loggers, foresters and craftsmen. This sustainable exploitation, of the “garden high forest” type, with trees diversified in age and species, respectful of the dynamics specific to the forest, is defended, for example, by the charter of the Network for Forest Alternatives (RAF).

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