Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2019) 352
Publication Date 23/07/2019
Content Type


Communication published on 23 July 2019 by the European Commission, which sets out a new framework of actions to protect and restore the world's forests.

Further information:

This Communication responds to the need to tackle deforestation and forest degradation affecting the world's forests. While in the European Union forest cover increased throughout the decades, the rate of deforestation in other regions still registered an alarming decline. The EU put in place a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory actions to deal with these challenges, but conservation and sustainable use of forests was not ensured by existing policies.

The European Commission proposes a list of initial actions, paving the way for additional measures at a later stage. Primary forests require special attention as they are unique and irreplaceable, and heavily affected by deforestation. Afforestation and restoration of degraded forest lands could help to reduce the pressure on natural forests, and be an effective additional defence in the battle against climate change. However, newly planted forests cannot replace primary forests, which have high carbon stocks, and are characterised by their great age, unique ecological features and the established protection they provide to biodiversity.

Further EU measures to protect forests would be consistent with international agreements and commitments, which fully acknowledge the need for ambitious action to reverse the trend of deforestation.

The Council of the European Union held a discussion based on this Communication on 14 October, and later adopted a set of conclusions on 16 December 2019.

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Commentary and Analysis
The Economist, 18/07/2019: Why France’s forests are getting bigger
EUObserver, 23/07/2019: Deforestation and the failure of EU self-regulation

Climate Home, 23/07/2019: EU moots crackdown on deforestation through supply chains

EUR-Lex: SWD(2019)307: Commission Staff Working Document accompanying COM(2019)352
European Commission: Press Release, 23/07/2019: Commission steps up EU action to protect and restore the world's forests
European Commission: Questions and Answers, 23/07/2019: Communication on forests
European Commission: Speech, 23/07/2019: Opening remarks by Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen at the press conference on stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world's forests
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 16/12/2019: EU action to protect the world's forests - Council adopts conclusions

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