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Competence Network Climate Change, Risk Management and Transformation in Forest Ecosystems

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Forest Research Institut Baden-Württemberg (FVA)
Department of forest economics

Wonnhaldestr. 4
D-79100 Freiburg

Tel:  +49 761 4018 231
Fax: +49 761 4018 333

Article

Author(s): Jutta Odenthal-Kahabka
Editorial office: FVA, Germany
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Foundation of a Solidarity Community

Sturmfläche Gengenbach
The extent of storm damages in Gengenbach made the foundation of a solidarity community necessary.

Objectives of a solidarity community (using the example of the solidarity community of Gengenbach)

  • Controlled processing of storm damaged timber
  • Bundling of resulting timber
  • Collective marketing and selling of storm timber regardless of forest ownership

The main task is the pre-financing of the harvesting and wet storage of storm timber.

Further objectives:

  • Prevention of overhasty and precipitous decisions and the prevention of panic selling
  • Taking charge of processing storm damaged timber for private forest owners, who are not able for professional, technical or personal reasons to cope on their own (costs are charged afterwards)
  • Equal treatment of all forest owners at marketing (exceptions: own fault, late processing)

Structures

The base of the administrative and organisational unit "solidarity community" is composed of

  • the local forestry association
  • the state forest office/ lower forest authorities and - as far as existing -
  • forest owning communities

The state forest office/ lower forest authorities first of all provide the necessary organisational and administrational "know-how". The forestry association acts, for legal reasons, as the accredited economic association in contracts with private and corporate forests. Participating communities guarantee the loans.

Advantages

  • The solidarity community builds on existing organisational structures (forest association, forest office, communities). Therefore the existing "know-how" can be activated right away.
  • Equal treatment of all associated forest owners.
  • Voluntary membership of forest owners.
  • Increased attractiveness for logging contractors: larger assured contract volume and simplified billing (only one contact person).
  • Positioning in the timber market: concentrated volume of timber, quality oriented sorting, simplified billing (only one negotiator).
  • The state forest doesn't sell its timber and supports the private forest owners institutionally (if politically desired).

Disadvantages

  • Initial problems of a "new" organisational unit which is generated spontaneously and temporarily.

Necessary conditions to establish a solidarity community

  • The determining factors in establishing a solitary community is the local volume of storm damaged timber (in total as well as in relation to the area) as well as the structure and ownership situation of the forest owners.
  • Of primary importance in establishing a solidarity community is the voluntary nature of membership. Every forest owner has to decide by him/herself, if he/she wants to join or not.
  • Accordingly the forest owner has to be convinced that the solidarity community is the right alternative for the community of forest owners on a regional scale. The services offered have to meet the expectations and needs of the forest owners.
  • The personnel of the forest office and forest association have to be motivated and able to work under pressure and cope with the arising organisational responsibilities for several years.
Basic concept of the forest solidarity community of Gengenbach:
  1. Forest office and forestry association join to form a forest solidarity community of Gengenbach (FSG). All types of forest ownership of within the forest district of Gengenbach are included (more than 6,.300 ha forest area).
  2. Private and communal forests are included where the FSG undertakes the whole processing and marketing. The voluntariness is pointed out.
  3. The FSG organises the pre-financing of processing costs. The communities undertake the loan guarantee with the local credit institution for start-up financing.
  4. For necessary market relief, large wet storage sites have to be build immediately.
  5. All joining forest owners shall be treated equally when selling, independent of processing and marketing time. The contributed timber will be evaluated by wood species, diameter and quality as well as processing conditions.
  6. The determining aspect of the financial impact of the storm catastrophe is the timber market development. Here the state forest is utilised as a compensating factor. According to political will the state forest can act in favour of private forests depending on the market situation.
  7. A forest solidarity community managerial broad and supervisory broad will be established.

Sources

  • Anonymus (2000): Nach "Lothar" gemeinsamen Holzverkauf ausgebaut. Holz-Zentralblatt Nr. 102/2000, S. 1279
  • Der Waldwirt 7/8 2004: "Respektables Abschlussergebnis der Forstlichen Solidargemeinschaft Gengenbach"

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