The European Commission Proposes a New Forest Protection and Restoration Strategy

The European Commission adopted the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 today, which builds on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The strategy is part of a package of initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality in the EU by 2050. It also assists the EU in meeting its commitment under the Climate Law to increase carbon removal through natural sinks. The Forest Strategy strives to ensure the multifunctionality of EU forests by addressing all social, economic, and environmental issues together and emphasizes the critical role performed by foresters. 

Forests are a critical ally in the fight against climate change and the loss of biodiversity. They act as carbon sinks, minimizing the effects of climate change by cooling cities, protecting us from severe flooding, and lessening the impact of drought. Unfortunately, Europe’s woods are under strain from a variety of factors, including climate change. 

The Forest Strategy lays out a vision and a plan for expanding the amount and quality of forests in the EU, as well as boosting their preservation, restoration, and resilience. The recommended changes will contribute to climate change mitigation by increasing carbon sequestration through improved sinks and stocks. The Strategy pledges to protecting primary and old-growth forests, regenerating degraded forests, and ensuring that they are managed sustainably – all while preserving the important ecosystem services that forests provide and on which society relies. 

The Strategy fosters resource-efficient wood usage in accordance with the cascade principle and promotes the most climate and biodiversity-friendly forest management practices. It also emphasizes the need to keep the use of woody biomass within sustainable limitations. 

The Strategy also calls for the creation of reward structures for forest owners and managers that provide alternative ecological services, such as preserving areas of their forests. Among other things, the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will provide more focused support to foresters and the long-term development of forests. The new forest governance framework will provide a more inclusive space for the Member States, forest owners, and managers, industry, academia, and civil society to discuss the future of forests in the EU and contribute to the long-term preservation of these vital assets.  

Finally, the Forest Strategy announces a legislative proposal in the EU to improve forest monitoring, reporting, and data gathering. A comprehensive picture of the state, evolution, and expected future developments of forests in the EU will be provided by harmonized EU data collecting combined with strategic planning at the Member State level. 

The policy is accompanied by a Roadmap for planting three billion more trees in Europe by 2030, all while adhering to ecological principles – the right tree in the right place for the right purpose. 

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