Forestry related news
02/05/2022: Letter to follow up on the forest owners' meeting with VP Timmermans (7 April 2022)
Please find here the joint letter from ELO, CEPF and COPA-COGECA regarding the meeting with European forest owners that took place on 7th April.
Presentations + video recording are available on Intergroup Website
The Agriculture Ministers adopted recently their conclusions and stressed there must be a “balanced vision on the different dimensions of sustainability,” they emphasized the need to strengthen the socio-economic goals & clearly define the “newly introduced concepts & terms”. The Webinar intends to continue this discussion and find out how to support further the multifunctional role of European forests. We will try to identify the current assets and flaws of the strategy. How to build a balanced policy that takes into account all the realities around forest management?
07/03/2022: Considerations on the EC Proposal for a Deforestation and Forest Degradation Regulation
The proposal for a Deforestation and Forest Degradation Regulation, published by the European Commission on 17 November 2021, risks missing its aim due to inadequate definitions and unfeasible provisions for monitoring and implementation. While forest managers and owners support the general objective of the EU initiative to curb global deforestation caused by EU consumption of certain products and commodities, we remain convinced that this should be achieved by strengthening existing governance frameworks for active and sustainable forest management. Key take-aways:
- Definitions should be workable and consistent with international forest reporting, thus adapted to the diversity of forests throughout the world
- Monitoring of forest degradation needs to build on reliable methods
- Country benchmarking should follow a transparent and comparable process
- Obligations related to country risk categories should be differentiable and adjusted to the actual risk of deforestation
- Requirements for operators need to be proportionate and implementable
- Access to justice and entitlement to submit substantiated concerns need to be better balanced
Find the joint statement here
04-05/10/2021: ELO supported the Vienna Declaration and the push from several Member States to rebalance the new EU Forest Strategy
On the next day in Vienna, Austria, Germany, France, Slovenia, Sweden and Finland have again expressed their concern over the EU’s Forest Strategy for 2030, arguing in a press release today that the text is unbalanced and failed to address the growing pressure on forests.
- Read the joint press release here.
- Read the joint position from ELO, CEPF, EUSTAFOR, Copa-Cogeca, USSE and FECOF here.
- Read the Vienna declaration here.
- Read the Press release of the informal conference of forest ministers here.
- Read the joint statement that followed the informal conference of forest ministers here.
Forestry related news
2021/07/16: ELO joins CEPF and COPA-COGECA in a joint press release at the time of publication of the new EU Forest Strategy
Today, the European Commission published its EU Forest Strategy for 2030. Despite some improvements, the text adopted does not succeed in re-balancing the previous versions of the text that have already caused controversy. The strategy puts European forest owners’ commitment at stake, as it does not strike a balance between the various functions of forests, between risks and opportunities, and lacks comprehensive concrete actions to support the forest sector.
Read the full press release here.
2021/07/08: ELO joins CEPF and COPA-COGECA in sending concrete comments to the leaked draft of the EU Forest Strategy
Ahead of the publication of the new EU Forest Strategy, please find attached for your attention a working document gathering comments from European Forest Owners on the draft text.
There are many organisations interested in forests but forest owners and managers is the group that will be crucial for the implementation of any EU forest-related ideas and measures. There will be no implementation of forest-related Green Deal policies without motivated forest owners and managers. Their endorsement is therefore highly needed, starting from the EU Forest Strategy. Therefore, we hope that these comments will be duly considered in the ongoing Commission’s work.
2021/07/05: Joint Statement on the leaked proposal to revise the REDII
In advance of the release of the Fit-for-55 package the ELO, together with other associations representing the forest and forest-based sectors involved in the bioenergy value chain, sent comments on the recent Renewable Energy Directive revision draft proposal.
See the statement here.
2021/06/30: Joint press release following the event "GreenDeal ambitions: What do we want and need from EU forests?"
This event was very timely as the Commission was discussing the content of the new EU Forest Strategy.
For the European forest owners and managers, the European Commission should purely rewrite the draft EU Forest Strategy.
All decisions on the future of EU forests should be based on accurate forest inventory data, sound scientific knowledge and long-term practical experience of forest owners and managers. European forests, having for decades been managed according to principles of sustainable and multipurpose management, provide multiple benefits to society. The new Forest Strategy should respect them equally to prevent a serious imbalance in social, natural and economic contexts. These concerns were reiterated during the event with a clear call from European forest owners and managers to the Commission to follow the opinions of the European Parliament and the Council and to rewrite the draft EU Forest Strategy.
The whole forestry community hopes that the Commission will seriously consider the concerns of forest owners and managers, engages with them to frame a policy that builds on their expertise and maintains their high motivation. No endorsement by those who take care of our forests would result in a failure of the implementation of the strategy.
As a coincidence, today saw the release of the Commission's communication on its vision for rurality, one of the main findings of which is that the voice of rural community must be given a greater place in political decision-making. We hope that the European Commission can put its own principles into action today on forestry issues.
Signatories: ELO, CEPF, Copa-Cogeca and EUSTAFOR
2021/06/24:The ELO, together with 13 other EU forest related stakeholders, reacted to the draft of the coming EU Forest Strategy with a joint statement summarizing the main concerns from the European forest and forest-based sector.
1. Data about the state of forests should be complete and properly utilised
2. Sustainable Forest Management and multifunctionality should continue to be the main principles of the new strategy
3. The bioeconomy should be more than long-lived wood products and should rely on an integrated value chain
4. Support foreseen for forest owners and managers should be comprehensive
5. A thorough assessment should be undertaken prior to developing any new forest certification scheme
We urge the European Commission to seriously take into consideration the opinion of the sector ahead of the publication of the new Strategy, expected for 20/07/2021.
2021/05/04: New joint position on the EU Forest Strategy: our forests - our future
The EU Forest Strategy (EUFS) must remain the main policy tool for an integration of European forests and forestry into all other policy areas. The position paper brings to the forefront the views of forest owners and managers, and highlights some of the realities on the ground, and some of the main aspects that should be considered if we are to have a forest strategy that can effectively be the reference document for European forests and forestry.
Forests and forestry have great potential in that they can simultaneously address many of the societal challenges identified in the European Green Deal. They have a major role to play in our joint efforts towards a more sustainable society and economy.
Instead of giving in to the temptations promised by polarising views, we should explore ways of maximising synergies and minimising potential trade-offs between the diverse functions of forests. This requires thorough analysis, forest sector know-how, particularly considering the impacts from dynamic natural conditions, markets and societal developments.
It covers the following:
1. What do we know (or not know) about European forests and the people behind them?
2. What have we learned from the current EU Forest Strategy?
3. What should the new strategy look like according to European Parliament and Council?
4. How to move forward? The vision of forest owners and 3 main requests for the new strategy
a) substantially contribute to integrating the concept of SFM in all relevant EU policies for the forest sector
b) provide support with a view to promoting investment, innovation and cooperation for resilient forests and a sustainable forest-based sector
c) provide a solid basis ensuring that forestry and the whole forest-based value chain can act as an important contributor to the bioeconomy and to continue on the path towards climate neutrality
2021/03/30: Launch of the #WelcomeToMyForest campaign: to tackle the many examples of misinformation and misconceptions, the ELO together with CEPF and Copa-Cogeca, launched an information campaign called “Welcome to my forest” on social media. In a series of video clips, forest owners from different Member States invite viewers to their forests.
Here is a list of the videos available so far from:
- Meet Clara Castelló in her forest in Spain
- Meet Märt Linnamägi in his forest in Estonia
- Meet Karin Müller-Vögel in her forest in Austria
2021/02/03: The EU Forest Strategy post-2020 was the main topic of discussion with Commissioner Wojciechowski on Wednesday
The ELO, together with CEPF, COPA-COGECA and EUSTAFOR met with the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, to discuss the sector's growing concerns on the way in which the implementation of the EU Green Deal currently addresses forestry issues. Our forests need to be responsibly managed, especially in the face of climate change and its impact on forest holdings.
Thierry de l'Escaille focussed on the financing framework linked with coming Forest Strategy. Watch it here:
A new platform to show how sustainable forest management supports biodiversity preservation Brussels is online (12/10/2020)
"Listen to EU forest stewards, understand their actions on the ground, learn from their experience, and go beyond the clichés!” In a few words, this is the message of the new awareness campaign #ForestBiodiversity launched today in Brussels by 6 associations representing the European Forest-based Sector, including the ELO.
As the debate around the biodiversity and forest strategies has never been so high on the agenda, this joint initiative gives the floor to European forest owners and managers through a series of videos available on the dedicated platform forestbiodiversity.eu. The interviews concretely show that behind the concept of sustainable forest management, special attention is given to biodiversity preservation and climate adaptation- two essential objectives for the forest owners and managers when managing forests.
Sustainable Forest Management provides a balance between biodiversity preservation, climate protection and socio-economic viability that local players, forest owners and managers, ensure on a daily basis. This multidimensionality in forest management is sometimes misunderstood. Well managed forests have the capacity to remain a home for biodiversity in times of natural disturbances and changing climate.
Well managed forests have the capacity to foster a greater amount of CO2 and increase carbon storage in forests and wood products as well as substituting for fossil-based materials and energy. Well managed forests have the capacity to be the first link in a value chain that provides nearly 4 million green European jobs while also offering preserved spaces for all. Only resilient and healthy forests can continue to deliver multiple ecosystem services, including biodiversity preservation.
Conservation and enhancement of biodiversity are at the heart of Sustainable Forest Management.
Joint statement on the New EU Forest Strategy: 3 reasons to endorse the committee report:
Ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on the report “The European Forest Strategy – The way forward” planned for the 6th of October, the EU forest and forest-based sector would like to share three reasons why the report voted in the AGRI committee should be supported.
All forest functions count
People, jobs and rural areas count
Coherence, coordination and teamwork count
In our opinion, the report provides the upcoming EU Forest Strategy with all the essential ingredients to allow forests and the forest-based sector to play their central roles in achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, including climate neutrality by 2050.
Signatories: Bioenergy Europe, CEI-Bois, CEETTAR, CEPF, CEPI, Copa and Cogeca, ELO, EOS, EUSTAFOR, EPF, FECOF, FEP, FTP, FSC, PEFC, UEF, USSE.
Please read the statement here.
ELO & WWf publish a policy briefing on "Growing trees on farmland":
Following the communication of the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the ELO has been working on a joint paper with WWF, on "Growing trees on farmland: Smart choices to plant 3 billion trees". The main idea is to showcase some of the best choices available and highlight that planting is not enough, and that management is crucial, particularly in the first years, if the trees are to survive. The future CAP is the best framework for this.
Please read the statement here.
Joint statement on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030:
As discussions on the new Biodiversity Strategy are underway, the ELO together with other organisation representing the EU forestry sector came together to highlight three main messages to consider when including forests in the biodiversity strategy discussions:
1. SFM is the ABC of biodiversity conservation in forests
2. Is more restriction the best way to preserve forests?
3. The future EU Forest Strategy should pave the way
Please read the statement here.
The European forestry sector must be part of the future EU COVID-19 recovery plan
The ELO, together with other organisations that represent the European forestry sector, sent a letter to the Chairmanship of several Committees of the European Parliament highlighting the significant impact that the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 is having on forests and forestry throughout the EU. The letter is also a call for the sector to be part of the EU recovery plan.
Read the letter here.
Like previous years, 2019 saw several discussions on the impacts of climate change on European forests. The recent past clearly shows how reduced forest resilience has a dramatic impact on the health of forest ecosystems, leading to an increase in insect pests and fungal diseases. The latest reports state that mortality in conifer stands alone will amount to more than 100 million m³ in Europe this year. Beech and oak broadleaved forests are not spared, neither are Natura 2000 sites. For this reason, ELO worked on a position paper titled, “Healthy forests for a healthy future”, which will be presented in 2020.
Another consequence of the long-lasting dry periods is the increasingly devastating forest fires with an ever-greater geographical reach. This led the European Commission to unveil its first firefighting fleet under the new rescEU system to tackle natural disasters. While the EU is focusing on preparedness, ELO co-organised a conference on Climate Change and Forest Fires in Europe, hosted by the EU Parliament. Ahead of this event, representatives of European forest owners and managers released a joint statement calling for a clear and firm engagement from all relevant policymakers and stakeholders at national and European level to remain fully dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management and multifunctional role of forests.
On the EU Forest Strategy, ELO welcomed the Commission ongoing work for its revision, with the new Strategy expected by the end of 2020. ELO remains supportive of the principles of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and multifunctionality, but would like to see it updated and simplified to better correspond the climate change mitigation goals in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. ELO, together with other organisations will organise a joint event entitled “Seeing the forest for the trees - the multifunctional role of EU forests” in 2020.
The legislative proposals for the CAP post 2020 were also a major event, as co-financing of forestry measures under the Rural Development Regulation represents the main means of EU-level funding for forests. In 2019, during the “Our Forests, Our Future” conference, Commissioner Phil Hogan announced the “1 hectare initiative”, which proposes to reward farmers with payments for the afforestation of one hectare, within the framework of the CAP strategic plans and at the discretion of each Member State.
Apart from the different positions published throughout the year, ELO remains an active member of the Civil Dialogue Group on Forest and Cork, and participates at both the Forest Europe Process and FAO Committee on Forestry. On the Forrest Europe process, discussions continue on a possible Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) after the decision was made to transmit this file from Forest Europe to UNECE and FAO.
In 2020, ELO will resume its work on these issues, particularly the EU Green Deal, starting with the role of landowners and managers in achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and in the implementation of the coming Biodiversity Strategy post 2020.
On the first, ELO sent both, a letter to the Commission President, and a joint position entitled “Multifunctional European forests are crucial to reach the objectives of a European Green Deal”. Overall, foresters are willing to play an active part in the future Green Deal for Europe.
On the second, ELO will respond to the Biodiversity Strategy post 2020, expected in early 2020. In parallel, DG ENV created a new Working Group on “Forests and Nature. ELO is an active member and reacted to the group both through a joint letter and by suggesting alternative topics of discussion for 2020.