To tackle the climate crisis, EU land and forests need to absorb more carbon dioxide, but the opposite is happening. EU forest health and biodiversity is declining, even in EU forests protected by legislation. Half of all the wood burned for bioenergy is harvested directly from forests. Indeed 50 per cent of the EU wood harvest is now burnt, meaning less wood to ‘make stuff’.
The Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULCUF) Regulation and the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) are the key policies influencing how much carbon dioxide is absorbed by forests, and they are presently being revised.
This briefing outlines five recommendations to improve these policies so as to increase EU forests’ resilience and climate role:
1. Set EU and Member State carbon removals targets
2. Fund restoration through an EU Nature Fund, not offsetting
3. Improve accounting: apply net-net rules for managed forests
4. Link LULUCF to the Nature Restoration targets to ensure joint action on climate and biodiversity
5. End support for burning forests for energy