EU Seals The Deal: ‘Nature Restoration Law’ to Reshape Forests

More than 39% of the European land mass is forestland, representing 4% of the world's total forest cover.

Thu 20 Jun 24


The European Commission has ratified historic legislation, which commits its 27 member states to restoring at least 20% of land and seas by 2030 and all ecosystems needing restoration by 2050.

Wood Central understands that the new legislation sets specific, legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in each listed ecosystem – from terrestrial to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems.

Following the vote of all member states, Alain Maron, the EU’s Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy, said: “I am pleased with this positive vote on the Nature Restoration Law, which was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council almost a year ago.”

A crucial step in meeting the EU’s COP15 obligations, “the Council of the EU is choosing to restore nature in Europe, thereby protecting its biodiversity and the living environment of European citizens,” Minister Maron said.

The legislation commits 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 came after the European Parliament and EU member states agreed last year on the biodiversity bill to rewild EU land and water habitats, which will significantly impact the value of “natural forests” across Europe.

The European Parliament has accepted a key biodiversity bill that will restore CO2-storing peatlands. However, farmers and other opposition groups have criticized the bill due to fears they might lose land. Footage courtesy of @dwnews.
What is the Nature Restoration Law?

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.”

In 2022, 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 the EU’s “over-regulation” of forests and forest products supply chains.

According to EU data, more than 80% of Europe’s habitats are in poor condition, and Europe’s forests are 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. Wood Central reports that member states are encouraged to develop forest plans for the next 50 years as part of a broader crackdown on unsustainable forest management practices.

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.”

Last 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.


  • 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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