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EU FORESTS AND FOREST RELATED POLICIES

The EU currently contains 5 % of the world's forests and EU forests have continuously expanded for over 60 years, although recently at a lower rate. EU Forests and Other Wooded Land now cover 155 million ha and 21 million ha, respectively, together more than 42 % of EU land area.

As regards Member States national forest policies, they are formulated 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.

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 presented an EU Forest Action Plan in 2006.

Forest Policy in the European Union

2014 Council conclusions on the new EU Forest Strategy, Brussels, 19 May 2014, 9944/14
2013

The Commission adopted a Communication on a new EU Forest Strategy, accompanied by a Staff Working Document and took note of a Blueprint for the EU forest-based industries

2011

The Arsenis Report of the environmental committee of the European Parliament gave a series of recommendations on the follow up of Commission's Green Paper on forest protection and information.

2010

The Commission adopted the Green Paper on forest protection and information.

2006

The EU Forest Action Plan was adopted on 15 June 2006. It builds on the report on implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy and consequent conclusions by the Council.

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.

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.

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.

However forests are affected by a broad array of EU 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 energy 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.

Forest related bodes at EU level: