The European Commission step up new strategies to protect and restore EU forests
Forests are indispensable for all life on Earth, and yet we are losing them at an alarming rate. On July 16, the European Commission adopted the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030, a flagship initiative of the European Green Deal that builds on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
The strategy contributes to the package of measures proposed to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 55% by 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050 in the EU. It also helps the EU deliver on its commitment to enhance carbon removals by natural sinks as per the Climate Law. By addressing the social, economic and environmental aspects all together, the Forest Strategy aims at ensuring the multifunctionality of EU forests and highlights the pivotal role played by foresters.
– Protection, restoration and sustainable management of forests: The Forest Strategy sets a vision and concrete actions for increasing the quantity and quality of forests in the EU and strengthening their protection, restoration and resilience. The proposed actions will increase carbon sequestration through enhanced sinks and stocks thus contributing to climate change mitigation. The Strategy commits to strictly protecting primary and old-growth forests, restoring degraded forests, and ensuring they are managed sustainably – in a way that preserves the vital ecosystem services that forests provide and on which society depends.
✅ Ensuring the multifunctionality of EU forests: CAP will be an opportunity for more targeted support.
✅ The Forest Strategy announces a legal proposal to step up forest monitoring, reporting and data collection in the EU.
✅ The strategy is accompanied by a Roadmap for planting three billion additional trees across Europe by 2030 in full respect of ecological principles – the right tree in the right place for the right purpose.
Which are the water-related elements in the strategy?
☑ We depend on forests for the water we drink. Forests have long held a hugely important role in our economy and society, providing clean water.
☑ Protecting, restoring and enlarging EU’s forests to combat climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and ensure resilient and multifunctional forest ecosystems => ecosystem services provided by forests that are vital for human health and wellbeing such as water regulation
☑ Forest management practices that preserve and restore biodiversity lead to more resilient forests that can deliver on socio-economic and environmental functions. Taking care of forests soil is particularly important.
☑ A strong research and innovation agenda to improve our knowledge of forest (inc. soils restoration, multiple benefits from forest ecosystem services and their interdependencies, digital innovations)
☑ Good examples on public and private payment schemes for ecosystem services exist eg. on protection of drinking water:
– In Germany, Federal water legislation entitles forest owners to receive compensation payments for management restrictions in groundwater protection areas.
– As part of the green heart of cork initiative developed by WWF Mediterranean, a private drinks company paid forest land owners to protect a water aquifer that was used for their production process.