Proposal for a Regulation on a monitoring framework for resilient European forests

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2023) 728
Publication Date 22/11/2023
Content Type , ,


Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 22 November 2023, seeking to plug existing gaps in the information on forests and create a comprehensive forest knowledge base. It also known as the draft Forest Monitoring Law. This is a text with EEA relevance.

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Forests and other wooded land across the European Union (EU) are increasingly stressed by climate change and unsustainable direct or indirect human use and activity, and land use changes. A comprehensive, high-quality monitoring system that covers all forests and other wooded land in the EU can help to better counter all the related pressures and hazards. Long-term integrated planning is deemed essential to keep the variety of demands for forest service and resources in balance and ensure disaster resilience according to EU policy objectives and targets for forest services, use and protection.

Existing monitoring tools are not fully fit for purpose. There are gaps in terms of timeliness and wider availability of data, leading to uncertainty about its reliability and limitations to its use. There has been no work on harmonising other ground-based data on variables, especially relating to biodiversity, making an EU-wide assessment of the forest ecosystem’s condition difficult. Available data on forests has significant gaps, which hamper effective forest disaster prevention, preparedness, and response by land managers and relevant authorities. Several forest parameters can only be reliably mapped and monitored across the EU by combining ground observations, remote sensing, and modelling. This combination is complex and challenging, often due to data-sharing and access issues.

Overall, information about the status of forests in the EU, their ecological, social and economic value, the pressures they face and ecosystem services they provide, is fragmented and patchy, largely heterogeneous and inconsistent, with data gaps and overlaps, and data is provided with significant delay and often only on a voluntary basis. In this context, the draft law seeks to:

  • ensure coherent high-quality monitoring that makes it possible to track progress towards achieving EU targets, policy objectives and targets that concern forests including on biodiversity, climate and crisis response;
  • improve risk assessment and preparedness;
  • support evidence-based decision-making by land managers and public authorities, promote research and innovation.

The proposed Regulation was adopted by the European Commission on 22 November 2023.

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Commentary and Analysis
World Resources Institute: Insights, 21/11/2023: Timber Harvesting and Climate Change Are Depleting Europe's Mature Forests
WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF), 22/11/2023: Forests beyond borders: New law to monitor health of EU forests
Swedish Forest Industries: News, 22/11/2023: Comments on the EU Commission’s proposal for a framework for forest monitoring

EurActiv, 04/10/2023: ‘Dear Ursula’: EU Commission chief invited to visit Nordic forests ahead of election year
Bloomberg, 20/11/2023: EU to Use Satellites to Track Forest Destruction as Region Warms
Reuters, 22/11/2023: EU to use satellites to track climate threats to forests
Euronews, 22/11/2023: Europe’s forests are being destroyed by wildfires and illegal logging. Satellites could save them
Agriland, 23/11/2023: New Forest Monitoring Law ‘valuable element’ for EU Green Deal

EUR-LEX: SWD(2023)372: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Subsidiarity Grid
EUR-LEX: SWD(2023)373: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Impact Assessment Report
EUR-LEX: SWD(2023)374: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment Report
European Environmental Bureau (EEB): NGO letter to Commission on Forest Monitoring Law (11 September 2023)
Greens/EFA EP Group: Press Release, 14/11/2023: The EU Forest Monitoring Law - time to uncover our forests' hidden secrets
European Commission: Press Release, 22/11/2023: Commission proposes comprehensive monitoring to improve resilience of European forests
European Commission: Questions and Answers on Forest Monitoring Law (22 November 2023)
European Commission: Remarks by Commissioners Sinkevičius and Hoekstra at the press conference on the Forest Monitoring Law (22 November 2023)

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