Member States are presently required to undertake limited EU level forest monitoring. This is problematic since forests are key to meeting EU biodiversity and climate goals, and there is a fast deteriorating trend in both. The EU’s forthcoming Nature Restoration Law, as well as the EU’s Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation and several other recent initiatives, attempts to address this deterioration. But how will we know improvements are happening?
Monitoring will be essential. That which exists suffers from scattered reporting mechanisms, patchy data, low spatial and temporal resolution, lack of common definitions and complex processes to access data.
The EU’s proposed new Forest Strategy seeks to improve this by, inter alia, introducing legislation on EU Forest Observation, Reporting and Data Collection. This discussion document considers possible recommendations for this initiative.
It is based on a literature review and interviews with different stakeholders in the EU forest resources community and concludes that the monitoring system must:
- Be holistic and legally binding
- Rely on a strong concept of sustainability
- Be developed with a stepwise approach
- Rely upon science-based indicators, overall objectives and legislative measures
- Consider local conditions
- Raise the quality of all Member States’ monitoring
- Use Earth Observations for accurate and timely monitoring
- Produce risk assessments to help countries respond to hazards
- Include all relevant stakeholders
- Have a strong governance system