Climate-friendly forest management in the EU

16-12-2016

Forests are highly sensitive to climate change and, in particular, the rise in average global temperatures caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. They are also part of the solution, as they absorb and stock carbon as biomass through photosynthesis. Their potential to help mitigate climate change makes forests a central element of current international and European climate policies. In July 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for integrating emissions and carbon gas removals from land-use and forestry in the European Union climate and energy framework for 2030. In contrast to the global situation, total forest area is growing in the European Union, covering 41 % of the total land area. The forestry sector is an important source of employment and diversification in EU rural areas. The demand for wood is expected to increase as it presents many environmental benefits, such as a replacement for fossil fuels or carbon-intensive materials. In a complex international and European policy environment, the European Union forest strategy, published by the European Commission in 2013, seeks to provide Member States with a coherent framework supporting sustainable forest management. The main European instrument for implementation is the European agricultural fund for rural development. This co-finances forest-related measures, including those specifically targeting climate change mitigation such as afforestation or the establishment of agroforestry systems. More than €8 billion in public expenditure has been earmarked for such measures in the current 2014-2020 programming period.

Forests are highly sensitive to climate change and, in particular, the rise in average global temperatures caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. They are also part of the solution, as they absorb and stock carbon as biomass through photosynthesis. Their potential to help mitigate climate change makes forests a central element of current international and European climate policies. In July 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for integrating emissions and carbon gas removals from land-use and forestry in the European Union climate and energy framework for 2030. In contrast to the global situation, total forest area is growing in the European Union, covering 41 % of the total land area. The forestry sector is an important source of employment and diversification in EU rural areas. The demand for wood is expected to increase as it presents many environmental benefits, such as a replacement for fossil fuels or carbon-intensive materials. In a complex international and European policy environment, the European Union forest strategy, published by the European Commission in 2013, seeks to provide Member States with a coherent framework supporting sustainable forest management. The main European instrument for implementation is the European agricultural fund for rural development. This co-finances forest-related measures, including those specifically targeting climate change mitigation such as afforestation or the establishment of agroforestry systems. More than €8 billion in public expenditure has been earmarked for such measures in the current 2014-2020 programming period.