Forest resources in the EU and the EU Forest Strategy
A great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures exist in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are also important for the conservation of European nature.
EU Forests and other wooded land now cover 155 million ha and 21 million ha respectively. This together means more than 42 % of EU land area is covered with forest and other wooded land. As a result of afforestation programmes and due to natural regeneration on marginal lands, forest cover in the EU has increased over the past few decades.
There is great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are one of Europe's main sources of biodiversity.
Forests are a key resource for improving quality of life and job creation, in particular in rural areas, and protects and provides ecosystem services to all citizens.
The new Forest Strategy identifies the key principles needed to strengthen sustainable forest management and improve competitiveness and job creation, in particular in rural areas, while ensuring forest protection and delivery of ecosystem services. The Strategy also specifies how the EU wishes to implement forest-related policies.
Rural development funds can support the implementation of sustainable forest management by the Member States. Co-financing of forestry measures under the Rural Development Regulation represents the main means of EU-level funding for forests.
For information on the 1998 EU Forestry Strategy and the EU Forest Action Plan (2007-2011) and to download a wide range of related documents go to the archive.