Dutch nature group to plant a tree for each one cut down

Dutch nature organization Natuurmonumenten wants to reduce its tree felling. The organization will only cut down trees in its controlled areas if there is good reason to do so. And for every tree that is felled, Natuurmonumenten will plant another one elsewhere, the organization reported to NU.nl on Wednesday.

In April the organization temporarily halted tree felling completely, due to growing criticism on its policy. Natuurmonumenten used to fell large areas of forest, to create open landscapes and thus promote biodiversity and to provide wood for biomass power stations, among other things. But in this time when counteracting climate change is an increasing priority, Natuurmonumenten decided to reduce the number of trees it removes because they effectively absorb carbon dioxide.

The organization will not stop felling trees completely. Trees will be cut down if this is necessary, for example, to restore open landscapes in order to preserve endangered flora and fauna. If it turns out to be necessary to cut down trees, the organization will also first check whether there is support for tree felling in the surrounding area. 

Natuurmonumenten will also stop selling firewood to private individuals and is looking for "the best possible use of the wood". The organization will still provide wood to biomass plants, because the combustion there is "more efficient and cleaner than in private fireplaces or wood burning stoves", the organization said to the newspaper. According to Natuurmonumenten, the sale of wood is "never an end in itself" and generates 0.4 percent of the organization's total income. This share is expected to fall in the future.

Natuurmonumenten manages over 100 thousand hectares of nature areas in the Netherlands. Just under a third of this is forested area. Staatbosbeheer is the other major nature manager in the Netherlands, managing 260 thousand hectares of nature on behalf of the government. 

According to Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands has been losing 1,350 hectares of forest per year since 2013 due to tree felling. A total of 3,036 hectares of forest are cut down per year, and only slightly more than half is planted back again. 

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