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Implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy: How to protect EU forests against harmful impacts?


Implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy: How to protect EU forests against harmful impacts?

Forests play a significant role in many EU objectives for sustainable development such as combating climate change, preserving biodiversity and promoting a sustainable use of natural resources. The project aims at elaborating an EU-wide vision for forest protection by designing an effective Community approach to counter threats to forests across Member States. The final project report is available for download.

Forests provide several ecosystem services for society such as carbon sequestration, the provision of wood for industry and energy use and of habitats for endangered species. At the same time, EU forests face several harmful impacts ranging from pests, fire, overexploitation, degradation and droughts.  Most of these impacts are additionally fuelled by current developments like climate change or the increasing demand of wood for bioenergy use.

To date, EU Member States are mainly responsible for forest protection policy. The European Commission`s role is restricted to coordinating activities among Member States and to promoting concerted action through new and coherent approaches. Specific measures on forest protection can be found in different EU policies such as the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and policies on nature conservation like Natura 2000. Starting with the prerequisites given by the EU Forest Action Plan the project investigates practical options for a common European approach for forest protection. Besides an extensive policy review, experts were consulted during a workshop held in Brussels on May 7-8, 2009.

The workshop on “EU policy options for the protection of European Forests against harmful Impacts” provided valuable input for the development of policy options addressing to different extents the demands for a Community approach to forest protection in the EU.

The final report, submitted to the Commission in September 2009, contains in-depth analysis and evaluations of different policy options concerning how best to protect European forests at the Community level and concludes with different scenarios for future decision-making, taking feasibility and effectiveness of the options into account. On 8 October 2009 the results of the project were presented in Brussels at the Standing Forestry Committee (SFC), the representative board of EU Member States for forest policy.


European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
University of Freiburg, Institute of Forest- and Environmental Policy (ifp), Germany
December 2008 to August 2009
Project ID
Forest, threats, climate change, biodiversity, agriculture, biomass, policy coherence, policy integration, Europe