The new EU Forest Strategy
On 20 September 2013 the Commission adopted a new EU Forest Strategy which responds to the new challenges facing forests and the forest sector.
The new Strategy gives a new framework in response to the increasing demands put on forests and to significant societal and political changes that have affected forests over the last 15 years.
It was developed by the Commission in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders over the past two years and has been submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.
The Strategy in a nutshell
While the Treaty on the Functioning the EU makes no reference to specific provisions for an EU forest policy, the EU has a long history of contributing through its policies to implementing sustainable forest management and to Member States’ decisions on forests.
Important developments include:
- the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs,
- the Resource Efficiency Roadmap,
- Rural Development Policy,
- Industrial Policy,
- the EU Climate and Energy Package with its 2020 targets,
- the Plant Health and Reproductive Materials Strategy and
- the Biodiversity and Bioeconomy Strategies.
Following a new approach, the Strategy "goes out of the forest", addressing aspects of the value chain i.e. the way forest resources are used to generate goods and services, which strongly influence forest management.
The Strategy highlights that forests are not only important for rural development, but also for the environment - especially for biodiversity; for forest-based industries; bioenergy; and in the fight against climate change
Stressing the need of an holistic approach, it also emphasizes that impacts of other policies on forests as well as developments taking place beyond forest boundaries should be taken into account.
In addition, the new strategy underlines that forest-linked EU policies should fully be taken into account in national forest policies.
Finally, it calls for a Forest Information System to be set up and for Europe-wide harmonised information on forests to be collected.
The former EU Forestry Strategy dates back to 1998. Based on cooperation between EU and Member States (subsidiarity and shared responsibility), it established a framework for forest-related actions supporting sustainable forest management.