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European Forests

Fern’s aim is to push for forestry practice and conservation in Europe which halt biodiversity loss and protect important habitats.


Fern’s analysis: Of all ecosystems, forests are home to the largest number of species on the continent and provide important environmental functions, such as the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of water and soil. In the EU, forests and other wooded land now cover 155 million ha and 21 million ha respectively (more than 42 per cent of the EU land area). The majority of these forests consist of semi-natural stands and plantations and only about 5 per cent of the forests are “natural or undisturbed by human activity”. Thirty per cent of pan-European forests are now dominated by one single tree species, 50 per cent are forests of 2 or 3 species. About 87 per cent of European forests (excluding the Russian Federation) are even aged (MCPFE, State of European forests 2007).

EU powers over forest management in Member States are limited, and consequently, policies affecting forests are found under a range of topics such as environment, rural development, industry, trade, etc. However, these policies are often not coherent and are not effective enough to guarantee improved forest management and increased forest protection. 

 

To learn more about this campaign: the best documents to read is Funding forests into the future

 

Most recent publications

EU’s Environment Committee recognises role of forests in fighting climate change but fails on bioenergy

The European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee today voted to increase removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by forests from 2030 onwards, recognising the important role that EU fore

What impact has the Renewable Energy Directive had on EU forests?

The EU Renewable Energy Directive was launched in 2009 to great fanfare and the promise that the EU would fulfil at least 20 per cent of its total energy needs with renewables. Few could have guessed that
a policy intended to help the EU meet climate goals would lead to vast increases in the burning of wood, degrading forests in Europe and beyond.
 
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One step forward, two steps back for EU on climate and forests

Today, the European Parliament took one step forward and two steps back for the climate and forests.

Read the full Press Release

On a positive front, the Environment Committee voted to strengthen the EU’s climate target for the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) - which covers the agriculture, waste, buildings and transport sectors - by reducing the amount of ‘LULUCF offsets’ they had access to by 90 million tons of CO2.

The most crucial challenges facing Europe’s forests

This short briefing outlines BirdLife, European Environmental Bureau and FERN recommendations for the Parliament’s own initiative report on the EU Forest Strategy.

EU Forest Strategy won’t save European Forests

NGOs have criticised the EU Forestry Strategy launched today as “neither a clear strategy, nor an action plan.” It has been hoped that the Strategy would meet the need for coordinated action to protect EU forests, but what has been delivered shows the markings of its chequered past. The document has been the source of much internal wrangling by different EU Directorate Generals, and for months it seemed unlikely it would ever see the light of day. 

Press release: NGOs reject proposed text of the legally binding agreement on forests

This Press Release from a broad coalition of European NGOs has strongly criticised the text for a Pan-European Forest Convention discussed last week by European Government Representatives. Members of the 30-strong coalition, such as FERN, Friends of the Earth Europe, Bird Life Europe, Greenpeace, ClientEarth and the German Nature Conservation League, believe the draft text is biased towards wood production without improving the overall state of forest ecosystems in Europe. They claim the text is too general to be meaningful, and too restrictive with regard to public participation.

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