European forests: Briefing note
Forests cover more than 42 per cent of European Union (EU) land, almost as large an area as is covered by agricultural production. Most support for forest practices in the EU comes from Rural Development policy, the second pillar of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
On paper, the current Rural Development Regulation requires consultations to take place at different levels (known as the ‘partnership principle’). In practice however, the input of stakeholders can still be improved.
Based on research and case studies from six EU countries, this briefing note investigates the extent to which implementation of the ‘partnership principle’ has been successful.
The lack of coherence between national rural development programmes and EU environmental commitments
The European Union (EU) is signatory to several environmental commitments, including the Göteborg commitments to reserve biodiversity decline by 2010 and the Kyoto Protocol targets for climate change mitigation. These commitments should be supported by EU policies such as the Rural Development Regulation. This briefing note looks at the expected effect of six EU Member States’ rural development programmes, and finds that, all too often, they are likely to undermine rather than support the EU’s environmental commitments.
The European Union’s (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the largest EU source of support for forest practices. This money sits under the Rural Development pillar of the CAP and the policy which guides this funding is the Rural Development Regulation (RDR). This briefing note considers whether the RDR is contributing to good forest management and biodiversity conservation by looking at both afforestation measures and Natura 2000 (forest) payments of six countries.