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LULUCF - better fit for purpose but with room for improvement say trade bodies

EU forestry, paper and agri-sectors see the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) outcome as a positive step.
"This is a step in the right direction for a policy that puts the EU on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It enables continued investments into the forest sector and sustainable forest management – the best long-term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure multiple benefits from our forests," said Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.

Although positive to the LULUCF outcome, EU forestry, paper and agri-sectors stress the importance to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire European forest-based value chain.

On September 13, MEPs backed a legislative proposal, under which EU countries have to ensure a balance in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and absorption from forests, croplands and grasslands – land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF). MEP’s voted in favour of more dynamic forest reference levels (FRL) to account for emissions and removals from sustainably managed forests.

In a joint statement, representatives from the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca), Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois) viewed the outcome as a positive step.

This vote has put investment in Europe’s forests back at the forefront of the LULUCF regulation. This is a win-win for Europe’s climate strategy and the 1.8 million people working in the forest-based bioeconomy chain, said Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.

The representatives said they recognise that the Parliament calls for flexible and forward-looking rules when establishing FRL’s. However, further work is needed to ensure that the full potential of sustainably managed forests and wood-based products in mitigating climate change is fully accounted for as the final formulation of the regulation will be agreed in trilogues.

The voting result encourages the Member States to continue using their growing forest resources sustainably in order to decarbonise the European economy. However, there still remains quite some room to further improve the LULUCF regulation. actively and sustainably managed European forests are essential to allow the European Union to play a leading role in combining environmental integrity with societal needs and economic development, said Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.

The groups stress that it is crucial for the EU to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire forest-based value chain.

Today’s vote upheld sustainable forest management practices and recognised the billions of investments made in rural areas. Sustainable harvest practices go hand in hand with the multifunctional role of forests. This brings excellent results for the climate, society and the economy. It makes no sense to outsource the provision of sustainable raw materials for our bioeconomy in non-EU countries. Diseases and forest fires are equally disastrous and Member States should be given the opportunity to manage the forests in a way that also addresses these important challenges. Future discussions with the Council must ensure that every country, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to continue managing their forests in a transparent and science-based manner with a long-term strategy, without fear of being penalized or infringing on the rights of private owners, said Pekka Pesonen Secretary-General, Copa and Cogeca.

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