The European Commission, Directorate-General Agriculture and Rural Development, has published a new Forest Strategy, which has been developed over the past two years in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders. The strategy stresses the need to adopt a holistic approach to forest management that integrates internal and external policy issues and addresses the whole forest value-chain. In a related initiative, the Commission has also issued a Blueprint to develop key forest-based industries such as woodworking and pulp and paper manufacturing. Read more…
The previous EU Forestry Strategy, which dates back to 1998, was based on cooperation between the EU and Member States (subsidiarity and shared responsibility) and established a framework for forest-related actions supporting sustainable forest management. Forests cover 40% of the EU land mass and are one of Europe's most important renewable resources, providing multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are also one of Europe's main sources of biodiversity.
Over the last 15 years, there have been growing demands on forest resources, including from an increasing population and accelerated urbanisation. The new strategy brings together complementary policy areas including rural development, enterprise, environment, bioenergy, climate change, and research and development. The 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 Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry has also unveiled a new Blueprint to help forest-based industries to fulfil their potential to contribute substantially to the Commission’s goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020. The Blueprint identifies the challenges facing the wood-processing and related industries and how to overcome these, including global competition, raw material supplies, environmental, renewable energy and climate policy targets, educational needs, logistics, and an ageing workforce.
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