In most EU Member States', forest legislation requires forest owners to have a forest management plan or an equivalent instrument in place. However, there is no common approach as regards establishing and implementing such plans.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy requires forest management plans or equivalent instruments addressing biodiversity for all publicly owned forests and for other forest holdings above a certain size (to be set by MS) in case rural development support is requested (see background information).
In late 2013 DG Environment, issued a questionnaire to the Standing Forestry Committee to get a clearer picture on the Member States' forest authorities' requirements for forest management plans. Their replies are summarised in the following table.
The table summarizes replies from 26 Member States and gives a broad picture on how structure and contents of forest management plans are handled at national, regional and local levels. This is a non-exhaustive overview, as often no detailed information was given on additional measures that might be required by other legislation with links to sustainable forest management.
It appears from this exercise that Member States have different internal structures and organisation frameworks and that a wealth of national forest related legislative and normative instruments exist when it comes to forests and forest management.
Please note that content does not reflect the volume of individual replies: where little information was provided, the replies were taken up in their totality. In contrast, in case a Member State with very complex structures replied extensively, a summary was made.
Together with the original replies from the Member States, the tabled summaries are the basis for further discussions with the Member States, e.g. as regards the total area covered by management plans or the drafting of guidance on what should be the minimum requirements a forest management plan or an equivalent instrument should contain.
The public consultation and the institutional reactions to the Commission's Green Paper on forest protection and information of March 2010 have shown that there is a high interest across the whole stakeholder spectrum of the sector to address forest information.
Therefore, the Standing Forestry Committee (SFC) agreed at its December 2010 meeting to the Commission's proposal for setting up an ad hoc working group in order to examine the results of the discussion launched by the Green Paper in the field of forest information.
The terms of reference that the SFC agreed to for this working group divide the work in 2 phases:
a second phase focussing on how the actual state of forest information can be improved, which additional information would be needed and the resources that would be required.
The ad hoc working group adopted a final report in March 2012.
Forest monitoring aimed at providing information on relevant decision making and policy formulation at regional, national or European level. Forest monitoring has a long tradition in most Member States of the EU and through Council Regulations (EEC) 3528/86 and 2158/92, monitoring schemes were established for the protection of Community’s forests against air pollution (see: Report on the Implementation, pdf, 167KB) and forest fires (see: Report on the Implementation, pdf, 78KB).
By the end of 2003 The Forest Focus Regulation 2152/2003 was adopted, ensuring the continuity of the monitoring activities at EU level until the end of the year 2006 and allowing for the elaboration of the scheme towards other environmental issues.
Final report on the implementation of the Forest Focus scheme SEC(2010)430 has been adopted together with a staff working document (SEC(2010)978 Final.Outcome of the Biosoil biodiversity data assessment.