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How EU’s ‘Nature Restoration Law’ Will Shape Global Forests

More than 39% of the European land mass is made up of forests, representing 4% of the world's total forest cover


Tue 19 Dec 23

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The European Commission will ratify historic legislation, which, when formally approved next month, will commit its 27 member states to restoring at least 20% of land and seas in 2030.

The controversial legislation will commit the EU’s member states to invest in ecosystem services as part of a broader push to “better utilise carbon” within Europe’s forests.

It comes after the European Parliament and EU member states reached an agreement last month on the critical biodiversity bill to rewild EU land and water habitats – and could significantly impact the value of “natural forests” across Europe.

The European Parliament has accepted a key biodiversity bill that will see the restoration of CO2-storing peatlands but has been criticized by farmers and other opposition groups due to fears they might lose land – footage courtesy of @dwnews.

The “Nature Restoration Law” is the first legislation targeting biodiversity since the 1990s and is part of a broader push by Europe to become the first “carbon neutral” continent by 2050.

It also supports global commitments made at COP15 last year – protecting 30% of the earth’s land and sea by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 90% by 2050.

“The regulation sets ambitious targets and timelines, and implementation steps are laid out,” according to Professor Josef Settele from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, who said the new legislation “targets intensive agriculture”, which is “the key driver of biodiversity loss across Europe.”

Last year, the European Commission proposed a law to revitalise degraded ecosystems “by boosting forested areas, marine habitats and increasing connectivity between rivers.”

That saw Finland and Sweden push back against what they considered “over-regulation” by the EU in forests, forestry and forest products supply chains.

According to EU data, more than 80% of Europe’s habitats are in poor condition, with Europe’s forests under sustained attack from insects, disease and forest fires, all caused by climate change.

The European Green Deal is the European Union’s plan to satisfy its commitments under the Paris Agreement – footage courtesy of @IntoEurope.

The legislation is crucial to the EU’s new Green Deal, with Wood Central reporting last month that member states are being encouraged to develop forest plans for the next 50 years as part of a broader crackdown on unsustainable management practices in forests.

According to an official statement from the European Commission, the new legislation is part of a raft of approved measures addressing “natural hazards and unsustainable human activity,” which it said has “severely impacted the European forests, crucial for fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity, and supporting rural areas and the economy.”

Earlier this year, the European Commission made global headlines when it committed, as part of the Green Deal, to ban member countries from importing and selling timber, beef, soy, palm oil, and cocoa associated with deforestation and infringing indigenous peoples’ rights.

Known as the “EUDR,” the legislation is already having a major impact on global supply chains for forest-based products, with the provisions to come into full effect on December 30, 2024.

Author

  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.

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