Trois Pignons 2020- Translation “letter to the French forestry new General Director” in “Libération”

Regarding the topic of forestry work in Trois Pignons, works are temporarily suspended. For those interested Respectbleau has had an awesome fan who accepted to translate this beautiful letter published on saturday in a french newspaper.

Lien vers l’article original:

Save Les TroisPignons forest

By Jean-Christophe Rufin, WriterLucas Belvaux, Filmmaker and Jacques Laskar, astronomer, Director of Research at the CNRS, member of the « Académie des Sciences » — 4 January 2020 at 18:08

Fontainebleau forest, July 22. Photos Paul Rousteau

A citizen’s collective, with the backing of, among others, the writer Jean-Christophe Rufin and the film maker Lucas Belvaux, is fighting this deforestation operation near Fontainebleau, and is appealing to the new Director-general of the « Office national des forêts » (French national forestry authority). ​​Save Les Trois Pignons forest 

On January 6, you will officially take up the direction of the Office National des Forêts. At the same time as work is about to start on cutting down 120 hectares of Les Trois Pignons forest.

Do you know this extraordinary forest?

It doesn’t really matter either way.  What does matter is that every year, millions of people come to walk, climb, play in the sand with their baby, horse ride, rest, find peace and quiet, and happiness, free of charge, less than 100 kilometers from Paris.

What does matter, is that this forest is one of incredible beauty, dotted with rocks, a moss and lichen-covered chaos, and crossed by heather-carpeted valleys.  This is where dozens of children from suburban schools come to discover that there’s more to life than concrete, buildings, cars, tarmac, noise and fury.

What does matter, is that people come from all over Europe to climb its rocks, making the forest a showcase for France.

Les Trois Pignons is a piece of pure poetry, a place where the imaginary becomes a reality.  This place, Mr.Director-general, should be a sanctuary, dedicated to the beauty in the world.  And a consensus on the matter should be quite easy to achieve, since the economic profitability of the place is practically zero.

Because the earth is poor here.  What grows is frail, twisted, lopsided.   That’s what makes it beautiful.  Nothing is straight, nothing is flat.  The pathways meander around the boulders as if unsure of the direction they should take, and each turn reveals a new rock, a new grotto, a pond.

If some trees have nevertheless managed to become “remarkable”, it makes cutting them down all the more serious. 

Because these trees, all of them, will be sold at a price that would barely cover the cost of felling them.  Eight euros per stere, we are told.

It is easy to put a figure on the profit from this operation, but also to calculate the corresponding loss.  It is huge.

The value of this forest isn’t financial, it is poetic. It is social.

The 3 000 signatories of the petition that was published online a few days ago bear witness to the fact, with their tales of the history they have shared with this forest, overdecades.

And yet, on January 6, the day when you take up your function, this enchanted place will become a “wood factory”.

Gashes measuring several metres wide will be cut every 24 metres to allow heavy machinery through.  And in their rectilinear wake, not one tree will remain.  The clearance zones will represent more than 16 % of the total surface. No more trees.  Nor heather.   Nor mushrooms.  No more moss.   No more lichen.  On this veritable grid, there will only be ruts in the sand, flattened earth, and dead fallen branches.

To these surfaces, we should then add the 20 to 30% of trees that will be felled in the different plots.

In a year when your department counted between 100 and 200 hectares of dead trees due to drought, is it really necessary to add to that number?

You said in your recent hearing in the Senate, that a new ambition for the forest is possible. You also said that your understanding was that the government and head of state’s intentions were, in the coming months, to express an ambition for France’s forests, an ambition born out of the people’s expectations.

In a few months, it will be too late for Les Trois Pignonsforest.

Mr. Director-general, under what auspices to you intendto start your term of office?

There is still time to prevent this catastrophe.  To turn this exceptional forest into a laboratory of the forest of tomorrow, with a more harmonious relationship between forest users and those who work there.

Be the person who takes the time to stop, and who looks before acting.

Rare indeed are the places where beauty is embodied and alive.

Don’t let this one disappear.  It would be an irreparable loss.

Trois Pignons – 2020 news

For those around Fontainebleau this winter, you may have heard about some “terrible forestry works” or “deforestation” about to happen….lets clarify (for information in French, you’ll find a lot already on existing websites, here, there, here).

So, from the 6th of January to the 10th of March 2020, the french forestry office (ONF) has planned some important forestry works, which will temporarilly and in some ways, permanently change the landscape, and have short and long lasting positive and maybe more challenging environemental impacts which need to be understood.

On this page we’ll let you download the 2 pages document the ONF provided and we have tried the following translation.

For those who can, we strongly advise to participate in one of the following meetings in order to be able to ask all your questions and understand the why, how and possible adaptations to this plan:

3d of January: 7pm, “Salle polyvalente du Vaudoué” Le Vaudoué – meeting organised by an association opposed to most of the work – not sure the ONF will be represented

15 of January: 2-4.30 pm , ONF information at “La Mée (Vaudoué) main car park”

22d of January: 2-4.30 pm , ONF information at Noisy (Cul de Chien) main car park

29 of January: 2-4.30 pm , ONF information at “La Mée (Vaudoué) main car park”

1st of february: Works visit, meeting at 2pm at La Mée car park.

For those who can’t we strongly advise to ask all of your questions to the ONF before the 6th of January, writing at ag.fontainebleau at

The text sent by the ONF: ” Interventions sylvicoles prévues en 2020 sur la forêt des Trois Pignons “

The translation:

Forestry works scheduled early 2020 in Trois Pignons forest

The French Forestry Office (ONF) will start forestry works in Trois Pignons forest, from the 6th of January, on Noisy-sur-école and Le Vaudoué territory. Those works will mostly occurred in the area called “Rocher fin” and along “Chemin de la Mée”. Beyond its social and environmental role, Trois Pignons forest needs forestry maintenance to guarantee its long term renewal. Forestry works has to be thought on a long term basis. Those works are scheduled in a 20 years plan called “Aménagement forestier”. This greatly differs from a day to day management. This document, based on an inventory, offer a scheduled operative plan for most of the forestry works and harvests, environmental constraints, landscape management. Those forthcoming works in Trois Pignons forest were mostly scheduled in the management plan, approved by the French ministry of Agriculture in April 2018.
Usually every tree “field” undertakes management every 8 to 10 years. In this area, due to a specific context, some fields have not be maintained for the last 15 years. This can lead to two type of problems: public safety and forest renewal.
The two main goal of this operation are as follow:
*Restore an area with ecological value — The “Poulette” land has specific vegetation and fauna, typical of open space area. In the absence of management, vegetation overgrow and the areas closes itself. The loss of natural open spaces is directly linked to the loss of bird species like “Alouette lulu” or “Engoulvent”. Scots pines quickly grow in this land and need to be cut to prevent this land closure.
*Improved forest typology and prepare the future — Most of the work will consist in creating 4 m large transect, every 24 m. Those transects allow for wood machinery to get inside the fields while always impacting the same area. They are actually bound to stay overtime. The ONF makes sure they integrate well in the landscape. In addition, some works will consist in removing bigger tree to allow for more light to get in the field and allow for seedlings to grow. The goal is to allow for more tree diversity in species and ages. This corresponds to what’s called “irregular management” in forestry. The volume of tree removed will represent 20% of the total wood volume and less than the forest annual growth.
*The ONF commitment — On area were the public is welcomed, works will terminate on the 10 of March. This will also allow to prevent any environmental impact as bats will terminate to hibernate and migrative birds species will arrive. Due to the high number of visitors, the ONF has preferred to undertake these works through contracting. Cutting and carrying heavy tree trunk can request the use of heavy machinery. Within fields, trees and shrubs will be cut by a machine, and wood will be piled and stocked along forestry roads: chemin de la mée, old chemin de la mée, previous chemin de Melun. 80% of the total volume should be taken out of the forest before summer. As concerned areas are closed to villages, and often used for outdoor activities, the public need to be aware of possible modifications to their schedule. Works could eventually be disturbing: noises, closures…which is also why they will terminate on the 10th of March. Impacted walking tracks and forestry roads should be restored at the end of the work. Everything will be implemented to guarantee maximum safety. Onsite information will always be provided.
More information: public merting at La Mée/Vaudoué parking, on the 15th and 29th of January. Work visit on the 1st of February.

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L’équipe fondatrice – Founding members

Christophe: As a climbing teacher he works at Arkose Massy, and he recently became a forest fanatic. He really wants the environnement in which we climb to be protected and preserved.

Fabien: Born and bread in the area, he now manages Karma Climbing gym and escapes whenever he can to climb, run, ride around. He knows how much could be done by giving the right information to new climbers.

Valentin: Artist whenever he is not caring for his kids and climbing in the forest. He’s commited to leave our planet in a better state that the one we found it in !!

Zofia: Born in Poland, worked in England; she chose Villiers-Sous-Grez, south of the forest, to settle. Expert in communication and event organisation, she’s ready to spread the good words about sustainable climbing.