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New EU Forest Strategy for 2030.

Type of law

The EU Forest Strategy is an EU policy with a cross-sectoral approach. The timeframe of this policy is 10 years covering the period between 2021 and 2030. The overall purposes of this Strategy are to deliver growing, healthy, diverse and resilient EU forests and to ensure their significant contribution to the climate and biodiversity ambitions, thriving livelihoods in rural areas and beyond, and a sustainable forest bioeconomy.
Forests and the forest-based sector will be supported to maintain their socio-economic functions and benefits, including additional jobs and growth opportunities in rural areas and recreational functions contributing to citizens physical and mental health. Forest-based bio-economy will be boosted within sustainability boundaries to achieve a sustainable climate-neutral economy. Sustainably-produced and long-lived wood-based products will be promoted to achieve climate neutrality by storing carbon and substituting fossil-based materials, in particular through their embodied carbon add to carbon removal that otherwise takes place through biological processes. The carbon removal period will be significantly extended when transforming woody biomass into wood materials and products with a long-life cycle. Investments will be attracted to the wood processing chain to increase the supply of long-lived wood products. The construction sector will be turned from a source of greenhouse gas emissions into a carbon sink, and a standard, robust and transparent methodology to quantify the climate benefits of wood construction products and other building materials will be developed. Renewable energy will be produced from woody biomass in a sustainable manner to ensure both the socio-economic benefits and the environmental sustainability of wood-based bioenergy. The use of whole trees for energy production will be minimized to mitigate the potential climate and environmental risks related to the use of wood-based bioenergy and to maximize its positive climate impact. Non-wood forest-based bioeconomy, including ecotourism, will be promoted to provide significant income opportunities in rural areas and improve rural welfare, while further promoting biodiversity conservation and the preservation of carbon stocks. Forest and forestry stakeholders will be encouraged to establish a skills partnership under the Pact for Skills and make use of the European Social Fund Plus to work together to increase the number of upskilling and reskilling opportunities in forestry.
The conservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests will be strengthened to combat climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and ensure resilient and multifunctional forest ecosystems. Forest owners' and managers' awareness will be raised on climate change and its impacts to scale up resilience-enhancing forest management practices and ensure an increase in the quantity and quality of EU s forest cover for future use. The mapping of primary and old-growth forests will be conducted and their protection regime will be established, including increased efforts to protect the primary forests in outermost regions and overseas territories of the Union, given their exceptionally high and unique biodiversity value. Sustainable forest management practices will be promoted to improve forest productivity, timber production, biodiversity, carbon sink function, healthy soil properties and climate resilience, and to protect forest ecosystems and species. Ecosystem restoration will be enforced through a legally binding instrument, particularly for ecosystems with the most potential to capture and store carbon and to prevent and reduce the impact of natural disasters. Actions will be carried out for extending forest and tree coverage in the EU through active and sustainable re- and afforestation and tree planting.
Financial incentives will be provided to forest owners and managers for improving the quantity and quality of EU forests, strengthening forest protection and restoration and more biodiversity-friendly sustainable forest management, and increasing the resilience and productive capacity of forests. Public and private payment schemes for ecosystem services will be set up to accelerate the roll out of carbon farming practices, for instance via eco-schemes on agroforestry or rural development interventions to cover biodiversity-friendly re- and afforestation investments, agroforestry and other non-productive investments for environment- and climate-related objectives. Financing mechanisms will be strengthened to increase capacity building support through advisory services, and provide guidance on how to implement forest based adaptation activities and measures to climate change in order to prevent and reduce risks. Strategic forest planning will be carried out based on reliable monitoring and data, transparent governance and coordinated exchange at the EU level. An EU-wide integrated forest monitoring framework will be established with a focus on regular and more frequent cost-efficient reporting and update of data on priority EU policy-relevant topics, such as effects of climate change, biodiversity, health, damages, invasive alien species, forest management, and the biomass use for different socio-economic purposes. Research and innovation will be improved to increase the effectiveness of sustainable forest management taking into account climate change mitigation and adaptation in line with biodiversity objectives. In addition to that, a holistic approach will be applied on new and emerging pests and diseases, and research and innovation on soil health and food will be carried out with an emphasis on forest and soils restoration. The implementation and enforcement of the EU acquis of relevance for forests and forest management issues will be accelerated, such as the Habitats and Birds Directives provide for the conservation of a good range of forest habitats and of forests-related animal and plant species.
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Legislation Amendment