Trees cover 182 million hectares of the EU. That’s six times the size of Italy. Yet as this report shows, European Union (EU) forests are under threat, and rapid and committed action is required to save them. We all - citizens, policy-makers, civil society organisations and political leaders - have a responsibility to protect our forests, and to make sure they are managed in a way which respects biodiversity, indigenous and community rights, and natural resource limits.
Artificially-planted spruce forests in the Czech Republic fall prey to bark beetles, biomass power plants threaten to gobble up French forests, old-growth forests are being destroyed in Poland and Romania, conifer plantations swamp Ireland, Sámi peoples battle logging on indigenous lands in northern Finland and Sweden… These are just a handful of examples of EU forests in danger.
The EU is taking strong action to protect forests globally, through development aid, innovative trade work such as the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and commitments to end EU consumption of goods that cause agricultural deforestation. But to meet climate targets and improve the lives of countless communities, we must protect forests the world over.
The EU can’t only call for forest protection elsewhere; we must also protect the natural and old-growth forests on our own doorstep.