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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

Forestwatch Issue 147 and Biomass Report Special

  • EU Emissions Trading Scheme an ‘open door’ for crime?
  • Green Paper shows Commission is green on forest protection
  • German state allows short-rotation plantations in forests
  • Growing biofuel concern
  • WTO versus WEO
  • Biomass Report shows increasing lack of policy coherence on forest protection
PDF iconFW 147 March 2010.pdf192.74 KB
PDF iconBiomass report special.pdf133.65 KB

Forestwatch Issue 146 and FLEGT special

  • Copenhagen’s missing ingredients: legal standing and political will
  • Sarawak cases, VPA lessons
  • Moving goal posts: staunching EU biodiversity loss
  • Bulgaria facing EU penalty over forest swaps
  • Forest Inaction Plan
  • ‘Sustainable’ Biofuels?
  • Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT): Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) special 
PDF iconVPA update.pdf131.26 KB
PDF iconFW 146 February 2010.pdf212.96 KB

Forestwatch Issue 144 and update from Barcelona

  • Climate, energy and environment change
  • A binding forest agreement?
  • Biomass: binding sustainability criteria needed
  • relaunched
  • First US illegal timber investigation
  • EU ratifies Ghana VPA
  • Palm oil funding frozen
  • Update from UNFCCC Barcelona meeting
PDF iconFW 144 December 2009213.17 KB
PDF iconBarcelona update118.32 KB

Forestwatch Issue 143 November 2009

  • EU Council reaches a troubling conclusion
  • Flawed bioenergy policies will fail EU forests
  • CAR VPA negotiations calendar ambitious
  • CDM to open doors to large scale plantations
PDF iconFW 143 Nov 2009.pdf212.16 KB

Forestwatch issue 141

  • Obstacles on the road to sustainable bioenergy criteria
  • Climate haggling... to be continued
  • UK timber procurement: Help shape criteria
  • The Saami Council applauds breakthrough
PDF iconOPEN179.99 KB

Forest Watch Issue 138

  • Billions of Euros available for afforestation
  • Forest activists win prize
  • Recession+ETS=few carbon reductions in the EU
  • Adapting to climate change?
  • Republic of Congo to sign a VPA with the EU
  • Special report from the UNFCCC forest climate meeting in Bonn
PDF iconFW 138.pdf259.51 KB