Commissioner Phil Hogan will present the Multi Annual implementation Plan (MAP) of the EU Forest Strategy to the European Parliament Agriculture Committee in Strasbourg this evening (October 5). Aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainable management and development of forests in the EU, the MAP is a follow-on from the 2013 Forest Strategy, updating the challenges which the sector faces in line with the objectives for 2020.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan said today: "Forestry is one of the main sectors that keep our rural areas still vibrant and sustainable, providing over three million jobs in the EU. I believe that forestry is key in the transition towards a low-carbon and climate friendly economy. It is therefore important to keep the sector resilient to the ever-changing challenges it faces, and maintain the balance between the economic, social and environmental benefits of forests. Although the Rural Development Programmes (RDP) for 2014-2020 have not been finalised in all Member States, we estimate that, taking all 118 RDPs together, approximately €7.2 billion of public investment is programmed for the forest sector. The Forest multi-annual plan will assess how these measures could bring more added-value and how they could be applied more effectively."
Forests are one of the most important land uses, covering about 40% of the EU total area, and have been expanding steadily over the last 50 years. Although the potential benefits are widely acknowledged - notably through the 2013 Forest Strategy - the challenges faced by the sector are evolving. For example, the demand for forest biomass is likely to continue to increase in line with the worldwide demand from traditional industries and from the promising development of the bioeconomy. At the same time forest ecosystems are exposed to a number of threats aggravated by climate change, with more frequent storms, fires, droughts and new pests and diseases. In order to address these, the Forest MAP provides a concrete list of actions in order to ensure a coherent, coordinated approach to the various policies and initiatives relating to the forest sector, with the particular involvement of stakeholders. The plan also includes actions to enhance essential ecosystem services provided by forests – such as flood, landslide and erosion protection, carbon sink, climate stabiliser, habitat for animals and plants, genetic resource, and recreational space - and to provide both experts and the public with comprehensive and harmonised information on EU forests.
The EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 2013. Based on cooperation between EU and Member States and the principles of subsidiarity and shared responsibility, it establishes a framework for forest-related actions supporting sustainable forest management. The specific objectives of the Forest Strategy are to strengthen the EU’s effort to promote sustainable forest management, including the reduction of deforestation at global level, and to ensure and demonstrate that all forests in the EU are managed according to sustainable forest management principles.