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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

Enhancing forest protection is key in future CAP

In this position paper, FERN explains that the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should prioritise enhanced forest protection and improved forestry practices that have notable and measurable positive environmental and climate benefits.

PDF iconOPEN174.78 KB

NGO open letter on the Legally Binding Agreement on forests in Europe

NGOs are concerned that a Forest Europe working group is pushing ahead with creating a Legally Binding Agreement on forests in Europe despite the fact that key questions have not been considered. The biggest among those unanswered questions is: what value would such a new agreement add to the protection of the forests in Europe? NGOs think the answer is 'none' and are also concerned that the process has been very poor.

PDF iconOPEN175.7 KB

Forests in danger: failures of EU policy and what needs to change

Though EU policy aims to give equal weight to the 'commercial interests' versus 'ecological interests' of forests, in practice, commercial interests have dominated.  This is concerning given that forests can help mitigate the effects of climate change, but are under threat from climate change itself.

PDF iconforestsindanger.pdf5.62 MB

Forestwatch Issue 152 September 2010

  • Biofuel landscape changing, but will ILUC be taken into account?
  • Another land case won in Sarawak
  • Carbon trading explained
  • Small improvements in draft Ecolabel criteria
  • World Bank palm oil strategy “reckless”
  • REDD+ Partnership’s chaotic, intransparent process
PDF iconFW 152 September 2010.pdf189.81 KB

ForestWatch Issue 151 July 2010 and special update on Bonn UNFCCC meeting

  • Prohibition on illegal timber is here!
  • Bioenergy policy will lead to a carbon debt
  • More human approaches
  • Missing: political will to protect forests in the EU
  • Sweden’s unsustainable forestry
  • Ecolabel still endorses forest destruction
PDF iconFW 151 July 2010192.76 KB
PDF iconBonn update.pdf149.51 KB