How should the contribution from sustainably managed and multifunctional forests for climate neutrality, biodiversity and a growing circular bioeconomy be maximized? How should different objectives be balanced in the new EU Forest Strategy post-2020? How should priorities be set and what are their practical implications?

To reflect on these concerns, the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), ERIAFF Working Group of Forested Regions, East & North Finland EU Office and Junta de Castilla y León co-organized a webinar “EU Forest Strategy Post-2020 in the context of post-EU Green Deal future-fit Europe” on 3 December 2020. The event offered high-level discussions with representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, and regional level who gave their insights about the future of the EU Forest Strategy, together with around 130 participants from all corners of the forest-based sector and beyond.

The conference was moderated by Aigar Kallas, Vice-President of European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), Chief Executive Officer of the State Forests of Estonia (RMK).

Opening the conference, the Regional Mayor of North Karelia, Mr Risto Poutiainen, called for an important role for Regions in defining the new EU Forest Strategy, highlighting the importance of forests for regional economies.

More than one-third of Europe is covered by forests, providing a wealth of economic, environmental and social benefits for all Europeans. European forestry and the forest-based sector has a long history of defining and implementing sustainable forest management and strengthening forests’ purpose as ecosystem service providers. Forests have a key role in tackling the climate change but also in providing livelihoods and green jobs, especially in rural areas.

Nicola Di Virgilio, from DG AGRI, presented the European Commission’s views and plans with the EU Forest Strategy post-2020 that will echo objectives of climate neutrality and biodiversity conservation, and set links to adaptation, resilience, welfare of rural areas and social forest functions. Areas of action will include existing and new forests in the EU.

Matthias Dieter, Head of Institute, Thünen-Institut of International Forestry and Forest Economics explained the possible leakage effects of implementing EU COM proposals for the EU Biodiversity Strategy (BS for 2030) on forestry and forests in non-EU countries. The study he presented concludes that any implementation of dedicated measures of the BS for 2030 will reduce roundwood production in EU Member States, thus posing a fundamental risk of biodiversity loss in non-EU countries accompanying such a leakage of roundwood production.

Aljoscha Requardt, Policy Advisor, European and International Forest Policy, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, presented the perspective of the German Presidency of the Council and the Council’s Conclusions on EU Forest Strategy. Member States call for a strategy that promotes sustainable forest management and improves policy coherency, thus avoiding further fragmentation of forest issues in the EU and bringing forests to the fore in the public debate.

Presenting insights from the European Parliament, MEP Petri Sarvamaa, from the Group of the European People’s Party and the rapporteur of the EP INI Report on EU Forest Strategy, reminded participants that the Strategy should be balanced, ambitious, holistic and an independent policy instrument, covering the entire forest value chain. Coherence and synergy with other sectors must be at its core.

During the Q&A session, the speakers and participants explored future opportunities of the upcoming EU Forest Strategy in order to ensure the multifunctionality of European forests, delivering all three equally important benefits of sustainable forest management: environmental, economic and social. The wide range of forest types which can be found throughout the different regions of Europe, makes it necessary to include a variety of approaches and measures, at both EU and national levels, when planning Europe’s common effort to maintain and enhance forests.

Closing remarks were delivered by Javier Ezquerra, Head of the Forest Restoration and Management Department of Junta de Castilla y León, a member of EUSTAFOR. He concluded that sustainable forest management is the best guarantee for a long-term conservation of our forests.

EUSTAFOR is looking forward to further collaboration and synergies with EU policymakers, Member States, and stakeholder partners, on the next policy developments related to forests, especially the Forest Strategy post-2020.

Webinar announcement.


Published 08/12/2020

Mr. Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

Mr. Aigar Kallas

EUSTAFOR's Vice-President, Chairman of the Management Board of Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus (RMK)

    Ms. Amila Meškin

    Senior Policy Advisor

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