Help the French forests - stop the privatisation of the ONF

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Heltrekker, May 10, 2020.

  1. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Ultralighter

    The Office National des Forêts (ONF) is the French government agency responsible for the management of France's national forests - around 10 million hectares. Through their work, the forests are maintained, protected and access preserved both for the French people and the thousands of visitors who come and visit these beautiful forested areas.

    They have been subjected to many cuts, and the government is now proposing to pass a law to speed up privatisation of the ONF and the management of the forests - this could mean less environmental protection, commercialisation of the forests and selling off of the timber, and reduced access for those of us who are currently free to enjoy them.

    Please could I ask you to click on the link below and sign the petition to stop the privatisation and keep the public forests for the public.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.
    Mox and oreocereus like this.
  2. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Done. French forests are a national treasure.
    Heltrekker and Chiseller like this.
  3. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Done :thumbsup:
    Heltrekker likes this.
  4. Rmr

    Rmr Ultralighter

    Heltrekker likes this.
  5. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Me too.
    Heltrekker likes this.
  6. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker


    Our little place in Brittany is right on the edge of the Forêt de Brocéliande. It's a magical area steeped in Arthurian legend and dotted with ancient standing stones. This place is just 4km up the road from us, Les Menhirs de Monteneuf.


    Last edited: May 11, 2020
    Michael_x and Heltrekker like this.
  7. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Ultralighter

    [​IMG]P1070029 by Helen Williams, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P1010624 by Helen Williams, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P1040993 by Helen Williams, on Flickr

    My local forests, lovely walking, especially spring and autumn - full of boar, deer, God knows how many birds. The last one is the view from my veranda over the woodland. I would be gutted if we lost access to these.
  8. Michael_x

    Michael_x Ultralighter

  9. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Public access to forests has very little to do with the status of ONF personnel. Furthermore, the commercial exploitation of forests has been one of the core functions of the ONF since it was created. "Forestry pays for the upkeep of the forests" is a principle that goes back a long time and also the main factor for the constant growth of forests in France (plus 3 million hectares in 35 years, twice the coverage today compared to 100 years ago).

    Today, forests cover 17 million hectares in metropolitan France (roughly 1/3 of the country), the State owns 1.8 million (including the forêt domaniale d'Armagnac) and local councils 2.6 million (including the bois communal d'Aignan) with the remaining 12.6 million being privately-owned (e.g. Brocéliande). The publicly-owned 4.4 million are managed by the ONF but it regulates access only to the State-owned ones, for the rest, it is the local council bylaws that are applicable.

    This is because, even though French law recognises the public's access to forests as being in the general interest, there is no right of access to forests in France, whether public* or private. But this access is generally tolerated and permission is deemed to be granted by the owner unless his property is fenced off or signposted as forbidden (or he tells you in person that you are not welcome). This has held in court since 1854 for all types of private land, wooded or not.

    * There are only two publicly-owned forests in the whole of France, the forêt de Fontainebleau and the bois de Boulogne, which were ever designated (by a court) as public domain, i.e. primarily devoted to free access and use by the public in the same way as a public park or a road.

    As for the ONF, I'll just say that it is a total $%@&¥ mess and has been for a long time but my judgement may be coloured by having worked for a local council with a large forest managed by the ONF on its territory. One of the contentious points was public access as you may have gathered by now. ;)
  10. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Ultralighter

    I defer to your obviously superior knowledge of the mysterious workings of the ONF!! However, I still don't think it's a good idea to let private enterprise loose in the forests without some form of oversight - I have seen what they've done to some of our local woodland - signs all over saying keep out, chop out a couple of acres of broadleaf, then abandon it. 5 years later, a brambly impenetrable mess - that's not management, that's exploitation
    oreocereus and cathyjc like this.
  11. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    I agree with you that oversight is important, vital even. I'm not convinced it would disappear.

    No harm done in signing the petition though.
  12. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    What I've seen in Brittany sometimes is where trees have been felled, the stumps have holes drilled in and a liquid poured in which acelerates the rotting process. Then it becomes a brambly mess. Then a few years later they come back along with a big angry beast of a machine which grinds up the rotten stumps and roots and mashes the brambles and leaves a fertile area smothered in decaying mulch ready for replanting. How well the timings of all this is managed varies considerably.
  13. Willie Todd

    Willie Todd Summit Camper

Share This Page