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Future EU forestry strategy: quality forest management

The EU must promote a forest management model that ensures the environmental, social and economic sustainability of European forests, parliament said on Thursday.

The new forestry strategy that the Commission plans to present in early 2021 must be independent and autonomous, aligned with the Green Deal and aimed at ensuring that forests continue to play a multifunctional role, according to the resolution approved by the plenary, with 462 votes in favor, 176 against and 59 abstentions.

Ensure the economic viability and environmental soundness of the sector

Sustainable forest management should facilitate the adaptation of forests to changing climatic conditions and promote environmental, but also social and economic sustainability, the text stresses. Forest owners developing sustainable management should receive more financial support, including targeted support for Natura 2000 areas, and obtain fair compensation for losses resulting from implementing protection measures.

More disaster resilience

The new strategy should, according to MEPs, strengthen European disaster resilience and early warning tools to improve prevention and preparedness for, for example, fires, floods and pests. The resolution calls for effective mitigation of the effect of climate change to prevent fires and calls for adequate funding for research and innovation in this area.

MEPs propose to give aid to owners to apply preventive measures, deal with crisis situations and restore the affected forest areas, through a new European emergency mechanism.

Timber construction and the fight against illegal logging

Parliament wants to encourage the use of wood as a sustainable and renewable building material, while calling for stepping up the fight against illegal logging. MEPs call for ensuring the traceability of imported products and encourage the EU to promote forest sustainability at a global level.

Context

Forests and other forest masses occupy around 182 million hectares in the EU, representing around 43% of the territory. Forests absorb more than 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Union.

Approximately 60% of Europe’s forests are in private hands and are mostly small properties (less than three hectares). More than 60% of productive forests in the EU meet (voluntary) sustainable management standards. The sector employs some 500,000 people directly and 2.6 million indirectly.

Source: European Parliament