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EU Forest Strategy and EU Forest Action Plan

There is no specific forest policy in the EU, and consequently policies affecting forests are found under a range of topics such as environment, rural development, industry, trade, etc. The EU Forestry Strategy adopted in 1998, acted as a response to concerns about the lack of coherence and coordination between national forest policies and different forest related EU policies. Though the non-legally binding Forestry Strategy represents the first significant attempt to create an EU-wide framework for forests, its development and implementation have left much to be desired.

A review of the implementation of the Forestry Strategy in 2005 revealed that there was a need to strengthen coherence between EU policies, as well as coordination between the European Commission and Member States. It also suggested a more coherent and pro-active approach to governing the EU’s forest resources. This led to the tabling and adoption in 2006 of the EU Forest Action Plan for the period 2007-2011. The document is however, fraught with internal contradictions. The vagueness of the concept of multifunctionality for example, raises serious questions about how the potential conflicts between environmental, social and economic components are to be resolved. In 2009, the mid-term evaluation of the EU Forest Action Plan concluded that its activities have been ineffective on most counts.

FERN comments and briefing notes on the Forestry Strategy and the EU Forest Action Plan

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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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