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Forestry measures

Forestry in rural development

The EU Forestry Strategy emphasises the contribution that forests have on the promotion of employment, well-being and the environment (Article 3), and it stresses the role of forestry in the context of rural development, in particular the added value that the Community’s actions can provide through the forestry measures inside rural development measures (Article 11).

Conceptual framework for forestry measures within the rural development policy

The EU’s rural development policy, the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, seeks to establish a coherent and sustainable framework for the future of rural areas. This includes developing the multifunctional role of agriculture and forestry, going beyond the production of foodstuffs and raw materials to managing the countryside and protecting the environment. This implies the recognition and encouragement of the range of services provided to society by farmers and forest owners.

Rural development policy has been the main instrument for implementing forestry measures in recent years. Financial support from the EU for forestry measures in the context of rural development, not including additional funding directly by Member States, amounted to EUR 4.8 billion for the period 2000–2006 (almost 10 % of the total rural development budget). It is estimated that spending on forest-related measures during the 2007-2013 rural development programme period, from the EARDF alone, could amount to EUR 9-10 billion (around 10 % of the total EARDF contribution to rural development measures).

The FAP's objectives are linked to the strategic guidelines used by Member States to draw up their rural development programmes. These include, for instance:

  • a range of measures to promote human capital, knowledge transfer, innovation and quality production in the agriculture and forestry sectors;

  • measures to protect and enhance natural resources;

  • Action to preserve high nature value farming and forestry systems and cultural landscapes in Europe’s rural areas.

Under rural development policy support is available, inter alia, for the first afforestation of agricultural land, the first establishment of agri-forestry systems on agricultural land, and the first afforestation of non-agricultural land. Natura 2000 payments can compensate private forest owners for costs incurred and income foregone, while support is also available for actions to restore and protect forestry potential.


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Last update: 06-01-2010