Report on the 4th meeting of the RSG Styria
Members of the RSG Styria convened for their 4th meeting already, this time within the premises of the forest directorate Admont (Styrian provincial forests).
Following an introduction to the region as well as to the forest holding by the Director Andreas Holzinger the meeting started with a short summary of the most recent project developments by Gerhard Weiss.
The attached „NWFP flashlight" provided room for updates on NWFP issues amongst RSG members. Harald Vacik reported on the COST Action FP 1203 „European Non-wood Forest Products Network", a European plattform to foster scientific cooperation, and related activities inter alia regarding NWFP database developments (i.e. actors and resources). „New" traditional knowledge on stone pine nuts (pinus cembra) was passed down from the „Zirbenland" by Ms. Bärnthaler. A study in the context of „TEEB" (i.e. The Economics of Ecosytems and Biodiversity) attracted the attention of Mr. Pelzmann who highlighted its potential for the evaluation of NWFP. It has been applied to depict the relative importance of wood and other ecosystem services in an urban forest in Hagen (Germany). One of the key topics this time revolved around venison, an issue of high relevance in the Gesäuse region (e.g. marketing of Gesäuse game, Xeis game). According to the per capita consumption (i.e. 0,6 kg/person per anno) there is clear evidence that the general public is lacking awareness that game meat may be consumed throughout the year and not exclusively during fall when gastronomy hooks on with specific culinary offers. This triggered an intensive discussion related to marketing issues (e.g. target group specific opportunities, regional cooperation), a debate that could be continued during a guided tour along the supply chain of game meat where Mr. Holzinger and his team provided insights to regional specifics regarding the life cycle of roe deer from the forest to the end-consumer.
Reports of working groups
In the frame of a preperatory meeting in relation to the annual „Waldfest" (forest festival) in Graz (Styria) the „AG Bewusstseinsbildung" met again to discuss in particular:
1. Which actions can be realised at the „Waldfest" in the context of NWFP
2. 5 concrete measures
3. 5 celebrities who could act as NWFP multiplicators
Awareness against NWFP shall actively be fostered during this event. Apart from NFWPs that will be promoted at various stands, inter alia run by RSG members, the issue shall be highlighted by a moderator in a sequence of live interviews (e.g. by ORF Styria). It was agreed that BOKU will contribute with financial support regarding dissemination material.
The „AG Innovation und Tradition" initiated a collection of best practice examples amongst their members to document products, services and related literature. It is planned to make the results publicly available, for instance digitized via the official StarTree website. Additionally they will be fed in the Innovations Database, a project led by Gerhard Weiss including already more than 200 forestry projects and product examples, unfolding additional synergies between the working group and the international project. The data entry form will be circulated amongst the RSG members in order to collect additional examples.
The „AG Kooperation" met frequently to discuss further collaboration and put emphasis on increasing quantities of game meat as well as related pricing. Due to strict quality management the integration of new partners (e.g. communal hunting associations) is a handicap, thus it is the main objective to unite two key players in the region (i.e. Admont Abbey and Mayr Melnhof) to accomplish the sustainable expansion of the general supply. It is expected that this collaboration has the potential to generate some sort of snowball effect amongst other forest holdings, thus fostering joint projects in the long run. To promote the brand „Gesäuse Wild" amongst private individuals and gastronomy it is planned to produce outdoor displays for up to date infos on fresh venison.
BOKU members (H. Vacik, P. Huber) introduced an expert model approach to assess the potential of NWFPs for forest holdings. Although the practical work had to be postponed, the coordinators of the working groups Mr. Schüssler, Mr. Pelzmann and Mr. Holzinger agreed to follow up on that in the frame of the next working group meeting as they were all positive about the relevance of such an application. BOKU agreed to provide an electronic „info package" to allow for data collection in the coming weeks.
New aspects were discussed regarding potential end products that may arise out of the work within the RSG and corresponding working groups. The following options were elaborated:
• NWFP movie „Waldland Steiermark"
• Leaflet on legal framework for companies
• Bachelor thesis on „fairplay NWFPs" (e.g. do´s & don´s, access & use rights)
• Partner & multiplicator acquisition (e.g. Mateschitz, wood museum Murau)
• Concluding Symposium on NWFP
It is envisaged to meet again in October, most likely in the frame of chestnut harvesting (Castanea sativa). Further details will be agreed upon and circulated amongst all RSG members.