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EU Forest policies

In the European Union the formulation of forest policies is the competence of the Member States within a clearly defined framework of established ownership rights and with a long history of national and regional laws and regulations based on long term planning. Although the Treaties for the European Union make no provision for a common forest policy, there is a long history of EU measures supporting certain forest-related activities, coordinated with Member States mainly through the Standing Forestry Committee.

However forests are affected by a broad array of Community policies and initiatives arising from diverse EU sectoral policies. For several decades now, environmental forest functions have attracted increasing attention mainly in relation to the protection of biodiversity and, more recently, in the context of climate change impacts and policies. In public perception, apart from the traditional production of wood and other forest products, forests are increasingly valued for their role as public amenities, biodiversity reservoirs, regulators of climate and local weather, sources of clean water, protection against natural disasters and renewable energy sources.

The EU Forestry Strategy adopted in 1998 puts forward as its overall principles the application of sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests.  The Strategy was reviewed in 2005, and the Commission will present a proposal for an EU Action Plan on Forestry in mid 2006.

Forest Policy in the European Union

1995  The Thomas Report of the environmental committee of the European Parliament gave a series of recommendations for the development of an European Union (EU) Forest Policy.
1998   The European Commission presented a Communication on a Forestry Strategy for the EU
The EU Council adopted a Resolution on a Forestry Strategy for the EU.  This document is considered to be the basic political charter for Community involvement in forest issues.
2005 The Commission has presented to the Council and the European Parliament a Communication reporting on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy accompanied by a detailed Staff Working Document.

The brochure "Sustainable Forestry and the European Union" (pdf 5MB)

Feel free to click here

gives a comprehensive overview of the Community involvement in forests and forestry. It was prepared for the 2003 World Forestry Congress in Quebec, Canada.

Feasibility study on means of combating forest dieback in the European Union

In 2006, the European Parliament asked the Commission to carry out a study "on the main causes of forest dieback in the European Union, with particular reference to fires and atmospheric pollution, and of possible ways of reducing their occurrence".

Following an open call for tender, the Commission selected a consortium of the Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products and the European Forest Institute to carry out the study. The results are presented in the following documents: