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Parliamentary questions
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27 April 2021
E-000866/2021(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000866/2021

The report by the European Environmental Agency (EEA)(1) analyses the results of Member States’ reporting under the EU’s nature directives(2) in support of a Commission report(3).

The quote referred to by the Honourable Member is part of the interpretation of the data reported by Member States regarding forestry related pressures(4) on habitat types and species pointing to increased extraction of forest products and intensified forestry practices.

One of the consequences is the reduced EU carbon sink reported under the LULUCF Regulation(5), acknowledged also in the Climate Action Progress Report 2020(6). Member States need to transpose the enhanced Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) sustainability criteria(7) for bioenergy by 30 June 2021 at the latest

Forests are important for safeguarding biodiversity, regulating climate and water and soil stabilisation and for the purification of air.

As such, they play a crucial role for achieving the EU’s objectives of restoring biodiversity and reaching climate neutrality by 2050, as set out in the European Green Deal(8) and the EU Biodiversity Strategy(9), which also announced the intention to put forward an EU Forest Strategy in 2021.

The data collected in the frame of the reporting under the nature directives point to a need to adapt certain forest management practices and ensure an increased level of protection of old-growth forests for the benefit of biodiversity as well as for climate mitigation and adaptation.

A recent report(10) of the Commission’s Joint Research Centre presents some forestland management pathways with respect to biodiversity and climate, highlighting the need to consider at least both of these, when addressing the issue of environmental sustainability of forests.

(1)European Environment Agency, State of nature in the EU — Results from reporting under the nature directives 2013-2018, 2020, 142 pp.ISBN 978-92-9480-259-0, doi:10.2800/088178.
(2)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7‐50; Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7‐25.
(3)Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: The state of nature in the European Union Report on the status and trends in 2013 — 2018 of species and habitat types protected by the Birds and Habitats Directives, COM/2020/635 final.
(4)In particular the removal of dead and old trees, clear-cutting and the reduction of old-growth forests.
(5)Regulation (EU) 2018/841 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU, OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 1‐25.
(6)https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/strategies/progress/docs/com_2020_777_en.pdf
(7)Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.
(8)https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en
(9)https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/strategy/index_en.htm
(10)Camia, A., Giuntoli, J., Jonsson, K., Robert, N., Cazzaniga, N., Jasinevičius, G., Avitabile, V., Grassi, G., Barredo Cano, J.I. and Mubareka, S., The use of woody biomass for energy production in the EU, EUR 30548 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2020, ISBN 978-92-76-27867-2 (online),978-92-76-27866-5 (print), doi:10.2760/831621 (online),10.2760/428400 (print), JRC122719.
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