THE European forestry and forest-based sector has expressed "very deep concerns" about the EU Forest Strategy, which is expected to be published later this month.

While the future EU Forest Strategy post-2020 is expected to be published on 20 July, the sector is concerned about the draft which is currently in inter-service consultation within the European Commission.

A joint statement, which includes signatories such as the European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries, the Confederation of European Forest Owners, the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry, the Union of European Foresters, and the European State Forest Association, reads: "The views expressed by the sector over the last months have, unfortunately, not been taken into consideration in the draft. In addition, the calls from the European Parliament and Council regarding the new Strategy appear to have been overlooked.

"We urgently call on the European Commission to seriously take into consideration the opinion of the forest and forest-based sector ahead of the publication of the new Forest Strategy and make significant changes to the draft.

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"Continuing to ignore the views of our sector risks provoking a disruption of the EU’s entire forest and forest-based sector and completely disregarding the need for motivation and endorsement of the millions of people who 'make it happen' on the ground. This would result in a failure in the implementation of the Strategy.

"The new Forest Strategy must create a balance of the various functions which deliver all ecosystem services, including supporting the entire forest-based value chain to remain competitive and continue to contribute to a greener economy."

The statement calls for all data about the state of forests to be corroborated with the national forest monitoring and forest management statistics of the competent Member State authorities in order to avoid misleading information.

It also states that sustainable forest management and multifunctionality should be the main principles of the new strategy: "Due to the diversity of forests, and contrary to what the draft implies, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' way to manage forests. Forest management practices reflect this diversity and are embedded in national and regional legislations according to the competence distribution and subsidiarity principle that are in line with Forest Europe criteria and indicators.

“Setting a new legal framework that would include a coordinated forest planning and management tool at EU level or setting EU indicators and thresholds for sustainable forest management would not only have a strong impact on the sustainable management of EU forests but would also distort this officially agreed set-up.”

Full list of signatories:

  • Bioenergy Europe
  • European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois)
  • European Organisation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors (CEETTAR)
  • Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
  • Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)
  • European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca)
  • European Landowners’ Organization (ELO)
  • European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS)
  • European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)
  • European Federation of Forest-Owning Communities (FECOF)
  • Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP)
  • Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
  • Union of European Foresters (UEF)
  • Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE)

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