Inter-institutional cooperation in the forestry sector

Coordinators: Davide De Laurentis (Comando Unità per la Tutela Forestale, Ambientale e Agroalimentare Carabinieri – CUTFAA), Antonio Ricciardi (Comando Unità per la Tutela Forestale, Ambientale e Agroalimentare Carabinieri – CUTFAA), Alessandra Stefani (Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali – MiPAAF)

Forests have an essential role in preserving the global environmental and natural balance: they are a public asset preserving soil from hydrogeological instability, protecting biodiversity and reducing climate change. They provide intangible goods, for example touristic and recreational functions, landscape characterization, traditional cultural and-sometimes – spiritual value conservation.

But, despite the existence of a general conceptual recognition of the fundamental role of forests, there is not an adequate attention from the legislative side in Italy. It could be really useful to strengthen the legal protection and to address financial resources to increase forests functionality and to improve financial return of forest operations.

Art. 117 of the Italian Constitution, which has been reformulated by Constitutional Law n. 3 of 2001, has increased the framework complexity of forest legislation. The forests can be managed at the national level (for environmental and ecosystem protection), at the regional level (forest management and exploitation) and at concurrent legislation levels (hydrogeological protection and civil protection).

In such a complex framework the inter-institutional cooperation between subjects involved in the management of the forestry sector plays a key role: the Ministry for Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF) with the new Forestry Direction and the issuing Legislative Decree on “review and harmonization of national forest and forestry supply legislation”, the Ministry for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea (MATTM), the Fire Department, Regions, National Parks and Natura 2000 Authorities up to the Carabinieri Command for Forestry, Agri-food and Environmental protection (CUTFAA), which has inherited the functions of the Corpo forestale dello Stato, except for forest fire active fight and airplane coordination.

CUTFAA cooperates with MIPAAF in forestry matters, developing monitoring activities on forest health and collecting quantitative and qualitative data on forest resources; it cooperates in the implementation of International Conventions on the environment and on nature protection, also by managing 130 Natural State Reserves; and in controlling forest exploitation and illegal logging. In this context cooperation with the Regions on the basis of specific agreements has a main role, including forest fire repression and forest fire perimeter definition.