The forest plateau of the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park is among the largest in the Marne, with no less than 20 hectares of forest! This is why the Park has given itself the mission of reconciling the preservation of this remarkable landscape, its economic development and the development of leisure activities. How ? The answer on this page!

The Territorial Forest Charter

Our Park is located in the heart of the Marnais Triangle, which brings together, among others, the Urban Community of Grand Reims, the Urban Community of Épernay and that of Châlons-en-Champagne, as well as four Communities of Municipalities. This territory was considered more relevant than that of the Park, because companies in the forest-timber sector are mainly located around the towns of Reims, Épernay and Châlons-en-Champagne. Indeed, the Marnais Triangle has 10 ha of public forests and 000 ha of private forests, not including military compounds (around 60 ha). A renewable natural resource, their wood must therefore benefit from sustainable and multifunctional management. No wonder then that the Marnais Triangle was chosen for the Territorial Forest Charter ! But actually, what exactly is it about?

How was the idea of ​​creating this Territorial Forest Charter born?

  • Between 2010 and 2014 : the Parc de la Montagne de Reims carried out a study of renewable energy resources of its territory. This being made up of 40% forest area, the potential for wood energy production was immediately apparent.
  • Between 2015 and 2019 : in order to have a more detailed understanding of this local resource, the Park and the forest communities have formalized a Territorial supply plan in wood energy and timber on the scale of the Marnais Triangle.

On the one hand, this meticulous work has brought out a real awareness of the benefits of wood : this non-relocatable renewable resource plays a major role in carbon storage. It thus perfectly responds to the challenges of combating climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels.

On the other hand, the Territorial Supply Plan revealed a lack of communication within the sector: it appeared necessary to bring together partners around this crucial subject for the Marnais Triangle. And for this, a solution quickly emerged: create a regional forest charter!

The creation of the Territorial Forest Charter

Since 2019, alongside local public and private actors, the Park is working on the development of the Territorial Forest Charter, in a real dynamic of consultation! This major project requires taking into account the 3 pillars of a multifunctional forest : wood production, protection of biodiversity and public reception. All while communicating on the actions, to ensure lasting support.

Furthermore, like all other Territorial Forest Charters (introduced by Law No. 2001-602 of July 9, 2001), this Charter is linked to local forestry development strategies (since Law No. 2010-874 of July 27, 2010). modernization of agriculture and fishing).

The 2 main objectives of the Territorial Forest Charter

  • Foster dialogue

This approach constitutes a networking of all the players in the forest-timber sector of the Triangle Marnais. In this way, it allows increase exchanges, develop partnerships and facilitate coordination between different forestry strategies. These include the Forêt d'Exception® approach (co-led by the National Forestry Office and the Park), or the “sustainable tourism” and “biodiversity” working groups organized by the Park.

  • Co-build an action program

The Territorial Forestry Charter links and coheres all the forestry initiatives and policies of the Triangle Marnais. These partners participated in the development of territorial diagnoses covering the different facets linked to forests (economy, sustainable management, sustainable tourism, social, history and heritage). The objective is thus to co-construct a multi-year action program by and for partners, in favor of a forest multifunctional. Its strategy must meet everyone's expectations, while finding solutions to the problems encountered. In this sense, it constitutes a fabulous tool for planning and sustainable development of territories!

The Forêt d’Exception® label

At the dawn of the XXIe century, a new awareness has emerged in matters of society, environment and economy. This change led the National Forestry Office (ONF) to commit to an exemplary sustainable development policy in national forests. 

Its national framework

The ONF thus created in 2007 the Forêt d’Exception® label. This distinguishes a territorial project bringing together local actors committed to an approach to excellence around a heritage with particularly strong values. Its goal ? 

  • Be a lever for local economic development, by highlighting emblematic national forests and their nearby territory;
  • Highlight the diversity of French forests and their benchmark in terms of multifunctional, sustainable, innovative and concerted management of their heritage.

Nowadays, 17 forests have launched the process and 15 have been labeled. How the label is awarded is simple:

  1. At the scale of each massif, a Steering committee is created, bringing together stakeholders and users of the forest (associations, public authorities, scientists, etc.). It sets the major objectives of their collective work and transcribes them in a memorandum of understanding.
  2. Its strategy is then broken down into an operational program: a Project contract is established for the benefit of the forest and its heritage, its users and local economic dynamics. It defines the technical, human and financial means allowing the actions to be carried out.
  3. At the end of this process and on the basis of a application form, the label is awarded for a renewable period of 5 years. This limited duration responds to the need for sustainable management that is constantly improving.

The history of the Montagne de Reims approach

In this logic, the founding of the “Montagne de Reims Forêt d’Exception®” Steering Committee marked the beginning of the approach for the state forests of Verzy, Chêne à la Virginie and Hautvillers. 

  • 2011 : creation of the Steering Committee
  • 2013 : signature of the Memorandum of Understanding
  • 2015 : signature of the 2014 – 2018 project contract
  • 2016 : drafting the application file and awarding the label
  • 2017 : labeling ceremony
  • 2018 : evaluation of the 2014 – 2018 Project Contract
  • 2019 : signature of the 2019 – 2024 project contract
  • 2022 : renewal of the label and pooling of action programs Territorial Forestry Charter and Forêt d’Exception® 

Pooling of actions of the Territorial Forest Charter and the Forêt d’Exception® label

In fact, since 2022, procedures Montagne de Reims, Territorial Forest Charter — Forêt d’Exception® are shared at the level of their:

  • Presidency;
  • Governance ;
  • Action program;
  • Graphic identity.

Why this pooling?

These two forest strategies bring together similar bodies and bring together the majority of the same actors ; their pooling therefore seems obvious. It thus makes it possible to clarify their articulation, to avoid over-requesting common partners and to standardize actions, whatever the status of the forests considered. On a national scale, other Forêt d’Exception initiatives® and Territorial Forest Charter (like Rouen) show us that their articulation is possible, but also coherent, with the orientation that we want for our territory.

Furthermore, the real complementarity of the two devices spreads their actions over a larger territory in favor of the development of local forests. For example, the innovative aspect inspired by Forêt d'Exception® now benefits private forests. However, on this now shared territory, each approach retains its relevance. As such, the Territorial Forest Charter includes more actions on the economic and sustainable management side. Locally, Forêt d’Exception® provides expertise in public reception, communication and awareness.

the close cooperation which exists between the National Forestry Office and the Parc de la Montagne de Reims guarantees the fluidity of exchanges. It makes it possible to approach the different territorial approaches with more flexibility and to achieve fully concerted management of the forest in the territory.

The governance of this pooling 

1. It is ensured by 3 types of authorities:

  • Plenary : all partners are invited every semester to manage the systems and validate the orientations. 
  • Restricted : every quarter, the structures leading the process (ONF, Park, chair of the Steering Committee) meet to make proposals for the Plenary Steering Committee, consult it and make adjustments based on the decisions taken. 

2. Thematic Commissions : grouped by axis of the action program (sustainable tourism, communication, sustainable management and economy), they monitor the progress of the latter. These Commissions are chaired and led by partners wishing to become more involved in the pooling of forestry strategies.

3. Specific working groups : if an action/operation requires it. This necessity can be decided during the Commissions or the Restricted Steering Committee.

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