New EU Biodiversity Strategy could put at risk forest-based sector contribution to the Green Deal


As part of the European Green Deal, The European Commission published its new Biodiversity Strategy, titled “Bringing nature back into our lives”. The document presents the key points for the protection of biodiversity in Europe, including a proposal for land protection, which is set to increase from 26% today to at least 30% by 2030. One third of the whole network of protected areas should be covered by strict protection. This suggested increase in protection targets for land would come on top of existing measures and good practices.

«The proposal seems to miss that biodiversity is looked after in all areas, not only in protected ones, and is already part of sustainable forest management. These targets must be carefully reconsidered as they would decrease sustainable mobilisation of locally sourced raw materials in the EU. This would put at risk advancing the resilient circular economy and EU climate neutrality objectives» said Jori Ringman, Director General at Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries www.cepi.org.

Cepi agrees on the importance of ensuring prospects for the development of biodiversity and highlights the crucial need to tackle global deforestation which is a significant problem: it causes an increase in CO2 emissions and has a negative impact on biodiversity. «We have many decades of track record in sustainable sourcing and traceability that, together with sustainable forest management, contribute to enhancing the health and resilience of European forests. We support the Commission’s plans in creating more forests in Europe, tackling climate change and fostering a green and resilient recovery from Covid-19 crises. Viable and sustainable forest-based industries with healthy nature can be our strongest asset in the fight against the climate change» said Mr Ringman.

The European paper industries are committed to use wood that has been legally harvested and comes from responsibly managed forests. The Commission is planning to publish a new EU Forest Strategy that should serve as the main policy tool to integrate European forests and the forest-based sector into the EU Green Deal. It should take the form of a holistic, multi-dimensional and inclusive strategy that will ensure an effective further development of the EU instruments related to forest management – such as adaptation, damage prevention, forest restoration, afforestation, Forest Information System for Europe. The elements included in the Biodiversity Strategy released today can complement an EU Forest Strategy, but further elaboration of their impact should take place before setting legally binding targets.