A great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures exist in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are also important for the conservation of European nature.
The EU has close to 182 million hectares (ha) of forests and other wooded land, corresponding to 43% of EU land area. (Source: Eurostat 2016) As a result of afforestation programmes and due to natural regeneration on marginal lands, forest cover in the EU has increased over the past few decades.
There is great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are one of Europe's main sources of biodiversity.
Forests are a key resource for improving quality of life and job creation, in particular in rural areas, and protects and provides ecosystem services to all citizens.
The Forest 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 Strategy also specifies how the EU wishes to implement forest-related policies.
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The report ‘progress in the implementation of the EU forest strategy’ reviews the strategy since it's launch. The midterm review highlights that the EU forest strategy is achieving its aims of encouraging sustainable forest management both in the EU and globally.
Rural development funds can support the implementation of sustainable forest management by the Member States. Co-financing of forestry measures under the Rural Development Regulation represents the main means of EU-level funding for forests.