PÖFF contributes to preserving threatened forests

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival will invest 0.5 euros from each film submission fee in the preservation of European and Brazilian pristine forests. The amount raised will be donated to Single.Earth, an Estonian green tech start-up that directly funds landowners to save their biodiverse forests from deforestation pressure.

Intensive deforestation is a crucial issue not only in the Brazilian rainforests but in European old-growth forests likewise. Massive forest landscapes have been subjected to intensive logging, most of which are made into wood pellets or low-price everyday products, whereas the pellets are sold to the countries seeking to keep their energy input ’green’. The appetite for low-quality timber has paved the way for clear-cutting even in the pristine species-rich forests with huge ecological value.

Through the platform created by Single.Earth, companies and NGOs can support forest owners financially for preserving the diverse ecosystems on their land instead of logging it. The start-up aims to preserve and increase the conserved area of threatened mature forests globally by making forest preservation an economically viable alternative to deforestation. The methods are based on big data and AI to evaluate and quantify forest attributes and conservation values.


Old-growth forest in Estonia.

The contribution initiator at PÖFF, Eliisa Pass (head of international communication and press), commented: “As an A-class film festival, we feel the urge to point out the largely ignored clearcut-caused biodiversity loss to the global film industry. We donate 0.5 euros from every film submission to preserve European pristine forests, and also Brazilian Santa Natalia rainforest - the area with the most rapid deforestation in the world. She adds: “Sustainability lies not only in the carbon taxes but also in the substantial nature conservation through actions. Thus, we encourage filmmakers and festival organizers all over the world to be proactive in the ongoing biodiversity crisis.”

The CEO and founder of Single.Earth, Merit Valdsalu said: "It’s fantastic to see that PÖFF is leading the film industry to a greener future by giving back to nature with Single.Earth. Protecting threatened biodiverse forests is one of the most critical actions one can take today to make sure that ecosystems continue to support life on this planet for generations to come."

A comprehensive study in 2020 found that the area of deforestation has risen dramatically across Europe within the last two decades. The area was 49% higher from 2015 to 2018 compared to 2011 – 2015. The loss of biomass increased even more with 69%. 22 out of 26 EU countries have increased their harvest rate and the ones with large old-growth forests show some of the most dramatic rises. The drastic increase in forest harvest is the result of the recent expansion of wood markets, as suggested by econometric indicators on forestry, wood-based bioenergy and international trade. If such a high rate of forest harvest continues, the post-2020 EU vision of forest-based climate mitigation may be hampered, and the additional carbon losses from forests would require extra emission reductions in other sectors in order to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

PÖFF submissions are open until 24 August. The festival takes place 3-19 November 2023 in Tallinn.

Cover photo by: Liisi Peets