Sustainable Forest Resources, Wood & Other Raw Materials
Natural sustainable ecosystems provide the biological basis of forest bio-diversity, functions (ecological, economic, social & cultural) and growth cycles. When based on man's intervention, this is sustainable forest management. EU forests are subject to national laws and international commitments to ensure their sustainability. Sustainable forest management is monitored and can be confirmed by certification processes.
Unsustainable management, as in many tropical countries, leads to forest degradation and loss, contributing 17.5 % of all greenhouse gas emissions. The EU and its Member States seek to redress such impacts through the EU FLEGT Action Plan and REDD.
The EU has some 177 MHa of forest and other wooded land, from which, together with services - such as hunting and recreation, wood and other products are used as a basis for processing. EU trees exist as diverse species in several zones, but their woods are either coniferous or non-coniferous. Wood is by far the most important forest product overall, but not all forests are focused on wood production and only two thirds of annual wood growth is used for a variety of building, furniture and other life-style products, as well as energy.
Non-wood forest products are also important, especially in some regions, the foremost examples being cork and resin. Some other raw materials, not coming from forests, are needed in the manufacture of wood and paper products. Latex, starch and formaldehyde are the most significant.