12 October 2013
Commission presents new EU forest strategy based on new, broader, approach to forest
A new Forest Strategy responding to the new challenges facing forests and the forest sector has been published by the European Commission today. Covering 40% of the EU area, forests are a key resource for improving the quality of life and creating jobs, in particular in rural areas, the Strategy states, while also protecting ecosystems and providing ecological benefits for everyone.
ollowing a new approach, the Strategy “goes out of the forest”, addressing aspects of the “value chain” (i.e. the way forest resources are used to generate goods and services), which strongly influence forest management. The Strategy highlights that forests are not only important for rural development, but also for the environment and biodiversity, for forest-based industries, bioenergy, and in the fight against climate change. Stressing the need to adopt a holistic approach, it also emphasizes that the impacts of other policies on forests and developments taking place beyond forest boundaries should be taken into account. It also underlines that linked EU policies should be fully taken into account in national forest policies. Finally, the Strategy also calls for a Forest Information System to be set up and for Europe-wide harmonised information on forests to be collected.
The current EU Forestry Strategy dates back to 1998. Based on cooperation between EU and Member States (subsidiarity and shared responsibility), it established a framework for forest-related actions supporting sustainable forest management. However, a new framework is now needed in order to respond to the increasing demands put on forests and to significant societal and political changes that have affected forests over the last 15 years. The new Strategy, submitted to the European Parliament and the Council, was developed by the Commission in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders over the past two years. The Strategy brings together various aspects of several complementary policy areas, among which rural development, enterprise, environment, bioenergy, climate change, research and development. In a related initiative, today the Commission also issued a Blueprint detailing the remedial activities that could be undertaken to help EU’s forest-based industries overcome their current challenges.
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Memo on forest resources in the EU.
Memo on the Blueprint on EU Forest-based industries.