The New EU Forest Strategy for 2030: A New Understanding of Sustainable Forest Management?

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Two decades after the pan-European set of indicators for sustainable forest management was adopted, the European Commission published the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030. A new study investigated whether they share the same understanding of sustainable forest management. Is the indicator set fit for purpose to monitor progress towards the Strategy’s objectives, and the delivery of policy commitments?

The concept of Sustainable Forest Management has changed over time. The focus of the policy discussions on sustainable forest management has changed over time, for instance by giving higher priority to climate change and the loss of biodiversity. The study shows that these developments – as well as legally binding EU instruments for other sectors - are reflected in the concerns of the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030.  

Is the pan-European indicator set fit for purpose to monitor progress towards the Strategy’s objectives? The study shows that about two thirds of the objectives and commitments identified in the New EU Forest Strategy 2030 can be monitored at least partially - and in some cases very weakly - by the pan-European indicator set, whereas new indicators need to be developed for the remaining third. Several of the indicators are not linked to the Strategy.

What next? The New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 is not itself a conceptual framework for sustainable forest management but it puts into motion a process to develop a revised, more ambitious framework for sustainable forest management, including “thresholds and ranges” to determine the limits of sustainability. To secure a generally accepted understanding of sustainable forest management, a participatory process involving all stakeholders concerned seems indispensable.

Further info: Dr. Stefanie Linser (stefanie.linser@efi.int), EFI Forest Policy Research Network

Reference: Lier, M.; Köhl, M.; Korhonen, K.T.; Linser, S.; Prins, K.; Talarczyk, A. The New EU Forest Strategy for 2030: A New Understanding of Sustainable Forest Management? Forests 2022, 13, 245. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020245

Photo: ©Günter Albers  - stock.adobe.com

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