Amsterdam’s Partner Forest Program
The city of Amsterdam initiated a Partner Forest Program in February 2022- making it one of the first Cities4Forests member cities to do so. Following a successful workshop in early 2022, the city began working with the Probos Foundation, Pilot Projects, and local stakeholders to pilot a proof of concept project involving multiple wood types from forests near the Surinamese village of Bigi Poika. The goal of Amsterdam’s Partner Forest program is to use the project’s findings to support a larger housing or canal bridge project by 2024.
Early 2022, the Amsterdam Partner Forest co-created a workshop with project stakeholders to explore five key concepts: (1) Renovation of bridges and canal infrastructure, matching needs with sustainable sources, (2) competition to design timber furniture in a park, (3) Modular timber housing prototype selectively integrating tropical wood, (4) Advocacy and multimedia campaign to showcase conservation benefits, and (5) Research quantifying impacts of reduced deforestation and carbon storage. Out of the workshop, a strategy emerged to integrate short-term exploratory activities with medium- and long-term activities leading to systemic change consistent with Amsterdam’s leadership as a carbon-neutral, deforestation-free city.
The proposed strategy to implement Amsterdam’s Partner Forest program has three phases. Phase 1 establishes relationships and processes necessary for a Partner Forest program. Phase 2 deepens the relationships, responds to barriers, and demonstrates quantitative impacts. Phase 3 establishes a long-term view of Amsterdam’s climate commitments and provides legal and practical precedents to forest-positive conservation timber procurement through the continuation of the city’s Partner Forest program.
Working with Sustainable Forestry in Suriname
Amsterdam is moving ahead with the sourcing of conservation timber for a number of city park benches and bridges from the Bigi Poika community in Suriname. A visit was made by Pilot Projects and Probos representatives to the community in September 2022 to discuss how the program could help support the economic sustainability of the community and ecological sustainability of the forest the community manages. As part of the program, Probos, FSC Netherlands, and the City of Amsterdam will assist Bigi Poika in entering in the FSC Continuous Improvement Procedure (a certification preparation course).
In the spring of 2022, our team traveled to Amsterdam for a workshop aimed at identifying potential Partner Forest Program opportunities in the city.
During a guided tour of the Bigi Poika concession, community members met with representatives from Stichting Probos to explain their forest management plan and harvesting practices.