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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

EU documents



Most recent publications

Forestwatch Issue 149 May 2010

  • World Bank begins palm oil consultation
  • CAP reform: speak up
  • Legal timber trade in Cameroon: How far from paper to practice?
  • Additional measures needed to protect forests
  • EU Ecolabel revisited
  • Bolivia: Putting people in climate talks 
PDF iconFW 149 May 2010.pdf182.57 KB

What changes are needed? The implementation of EU's Rural Development Policy

This report follows up FERN’s earlier study “Funding forests into the future? How the European Fund for Rural Development affects Europe’s forests”. It focuses on how national programmes – and more specifically their forestry measures – have been implemented in six countries. The key questions that are looked at in the report include: What, if anything, have the individual countries done to address the issues raised in 2008, and can implementation of the RDPs do anything to improve forestry management practices and encourage forest conservation? 


PDF iconWhat changes are needed.pdf1.06 MB

Forestwatch Issue 148 April 2010

  • The FLEGT process continues to give a voice to civil society
  • Time to end subsidies that harm biodiversity
  • Dutch NGOs lodge a complaint concerning MTCS
  • EU Ecolabel – Not so green
  • Disingenuous biofuels numbers
PDF iconFW 148 April 2010.pdf195.87 KB

NGO participation in the rural development policy

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.

PDF iconOPEN1.42 MB

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.

PDF iconOPEN1.55 MB

Is the rural development policy supporting good forest management and biodiversity conservation?

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.

PDF iconOPEN1.92 MB