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European Parliament adopts EU Forest Strategy report

The EU should promote forest management models that seek to ensure forests are environmentally, societally, and economically sustainable, MEPs said at a plenary session on October 8, 2020. The Commission’s post-2020 EU Forest Strategy, due at the beginning of 2021, should be independent and self-standing, properly aligned with the European Green Deal, and ensure that forests can continue to play a multifunctional role, MEPs say in a non-legislative resolution adopted by a significant majority.

Freshly harvested forest fibre (spruce pulpwood in the foreground and sawlogs in the background) awaiting collection to begin its transformation process into sawn wood, pulp, paper, biochemical and bioenergy products. The harvested site will be replanted for the next generation forest cycle.

Freshly harvested forest fibre (spruce pulpwood in the foreground and sawlogs in the background) awaiting collection to begin its transformation process into sawn wood, pulp, paper, biochemical and bioenergy products. The harvested site will be replanted for the next generation forest cycle.

Sustainable forest management (SFM) should make forests more adaptable to changing climate conditions and promote their environmental, but also societal and economic sustainability, MEPs said in a non-legislative resolution adopted by 462 votes in favour to 176 against, with 59 abstentions.

Forest owners who apply SFM principles should get better financial support including new specific aid for Natura 2000 areas and receive fair compensation for economic losses caused by putting in place protection measures.

EU forests need to be more resilient

The new strategy, MEPs say, should help to bolster European disaster resilience and early warning tools to increase prevention and preparedness e.g. for fires, floods, or pest infestations.

They call for the impact of climate change on forest fires to be effectively mitigated and insist on proper funding for research and innovation to make forests more climate-resistant.

Forest owners should receive more support for applying preventive measures, dealing with crises, and restoring affected forest areas, e.g. through a new EU emergency mechanism, they add.

Build with wood and fight illegal logging

MEPs also push for wood to be promoted more widely as sustainable construction and renewable raw material, call for the fight against illegal logging to be stepped up, demand that imported products should be easier to trace, and insist that the EU should do more to promote sustainable forestry globally.

Forests are of enormous importance to all of us. We must therefore accept nothing less than an ambitious and self-standing EU strategy that strikes a balance between the economic, ecological, and social sustainability of our forests and woodlands fosters their resilience and helps us move towards a circular economy, said rapporteur Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI).

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