On behalf of environmental and social justice organisations in Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Europe more broadly, Fern together with 39 NGOs wrote a letter to the European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to stress the importance of restoring forests in the upcoming Nature Restoration Law. This is the only way to successfully fight climate change and biodiversity loss.
The reasons for this are clear: European Forests are a large and crucial ecosystem, covering 40 per cent of European Union (EU) land. But overlogging means that they are more vulnerable to climate change and that their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is deteriorating fast.
We were therefore stupefied that Finland, Sweden and Estonia’s forest industries requested that forest ecosystems be excluded from the new Nature Restoration Law. This would undermine climate targets and commitments in the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Whilst governments and citizens around the world look to solve the biodiversity and climate crises, it seems that the forest industry has only one concern: maintaining access to large quantities of cheap biomass, whatever the cost to forests, communities, nature and the climate.
The EU must not prioritise short term industry gain over long term ecological, social and economic benefits. EU policies should address the planetary and social crises we face and not fall for unsubstantiated industry claims. We therefore call on the Executive Vice-President to publish the Nature Restoration Law without delay and to include ambitious restoration targets with clear indicators to improve the ecosystem resilience of our forests in the EU.