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EP misses opportunity to embrace the complexity of forests and forestry in Biodiversity Strategy – CEPF

The European Parliament has adopted its report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 after voting on amendments, which would have allowed better alignment with Parliament’s report on the EU Forest Strategy from last autumn. However, the final vote only partially included these amendments. European forest owners "deeply regret" that the report on the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 fails to understand and consider the complexity of forests and forestry in Europe and the challenges they face.

The European Parliament has adopted its report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 after voting on amendments, which would have allowed better alignment with Parliament’s report on the EU Forest Strategy from last autumn. However, the final vote only partially included these amendments. European forest owners “deeply regret” that the report on the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 fails to understand and consider the complexity of forests and forestry in Europe and the challenges they face.

On June 8, 2021, the European Parliament adopted its report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. MEPs welcome the ambition of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to ensure that by 2050 the world’s ecosystems are restored, resilient, and adequately protected. To back this ambition, they call for an EU Biodiversity Law similar to the EU Climate Law.

MEPs “strongly regret” that the EU has not achieved its 2020 biodiversity objectives and say the new strategy must adequately tackle all five main drivers of change: changes in land and sea use; the direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species.

MEPs insisted that EUR 20 billion annually must be mobilized for biodiversity action in Europe, and also requested a “Paris agreement” for biodiversity at the upcoming UN conference in October 2021 that will set global biodiversity priorities to 2030 and beyond.

Amongst other things, they repeated their call that at least 30 percent of the EU’s land and sea be protected by 2030, and at least a third of these areas, including “all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests,” should be given even stricter protection.

“Today we are asking for an EU Biodiversity Law similar to the EU Climate Law, which would set the governance framework until 2050 to protect biodiversity, including binding targets for 2030. I am satisfied we have endorsed the main targets of the Commission’s proposal and supported the creation of an EU Nature Restoration Plan to restore at least 30 percent of the EU’s land and sea. There is also widespread support for a law to protect and use soil sustainably, and a plan to jointly address the climate and biodiversity crises” said César Luena (S&D, ES) rapporteur (photo courtesy Fred Marvaux /EP).

Missed opportunity says CEPF

In a plenary session earlier the same day, MEPs had voted on the amendments, which the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) says would have allowed to better align this report with Parliament’s report on the EU Forest Strategy from last autumn, and to avoid unnecessary unclarity and misconception on the state of the EU forests and their management.

The vote only partially included these amendments and, as adopted by the European Parliament, the final EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 report is a mix of diverging calls.

Among the positive developments, it’s worth noting that the European Parliament has endorsed the climate benefits of sustainable forest management and use of sustainably produced wood-based products and has called for the allocation of sufficient financial resources for the management of Natura2000 forests, said Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary-General of CEPF.

Among the less positive developments noted by CEPF is the report’s call for the new EU Forest Strategy to focus on the forests’ role as carbon sinks and their biodiversity components.

The sustainability concept is based on three pillars and if one of them is weak, the whole concept is not fulfilled. European forest owners are convinced that the EU Forest Strategy should cover all aspects of sustainable forest management on an equal footing way, commented Fanny-Pomme Langue.

In addition, the report is calling to strictly protect all remaining “old-growth forests”, a concept not yet been defined and commonly endorsed in an EU context. Uncertainty and unclear terminology is colliding with field reality and will hamper proper implementation of the strategy.

European forest owners “deeply regret that the report on the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 fails to understand and consider the complexity of forests and forestry in Europe and the challenges they face. We hope that concerns of those who own and manage the forests will be better considered, based on a reality check and successes already achieved.”

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