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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

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.

NGO Statement to Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe

Statement from Friedrich Wulf of Pro Natura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland on behalf of FoE Eu­rope, its members and a large number of European Environmental NGOs and NGO networks: Bird Life Europe, FERN, IFAW, CEEweb, PlantLife, BatLife Europe, Client Earth, Greenpeace, Wetlands International, Robin Wood, ARA, Quercus, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Pro Regenwald, Friends of the Siberian Forests, Rainforest Foundation Norway,  TERRA, Global Witness and others. It expresses the NGOs' disappointment with the text of the convention.

PDF iconNGO Opening statement INC4.pdf98.39 KB

NGO concerns about proposed Forest Convention

An international negotiation committee, created by Forest Europe has for the past two years, negotiated a text for a new Forest Convention. The convention would cover the 46 countries on the European continent, including Russia and could be open to ratification by countries beyond Europe. The final text was nearly agreed on 14 June 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. European NGOs from countries across Europe have written this statement to raise their great concerns about both the content and the process.

NGOs' concerns with the legally binding agreement on forests in Europe

Released before the third session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe negotiations; this statement on behalf of 34 NGOs outlines key concerns that Europe’s NGO have in regards to the legally binding agreement on forests in Europe.

PDF iconNGO_letter_LBA_INC3_Jan_2013.pdf258.77 KB