How Could European Forests Best Benefit from the EU Forest Monitoring Law?

Climate action

For decades, intensive forestry practices have meant that healthy biodiverse forests across the European Union (EU) have been replaced with trees that resemble crops. Intensive forest management not only degrades ecosystems, but also reduces the EU’s ability to reach its climate goals. And it’s not just nature that’s suffering. The extractive forestry industry offers fewer and fewer forestry jobs, undermining sustainable rural development.

The EU has a large number of goals and targets covering a wide variety of subjects, but one thing unites them all – there is little chance they will be successful if they do not have a clear way of agreeing baselines, monitoring progress and if they do not lead to action. When it comes to forests, monitoring is particularly important and complex: forests cover a big proportion of EU land, and play many roles including providing habitats for wildlife, carbon sequestration and livelihoods. The climate crisis will also strongly impact forests in ways which are unpredictable, strengthening the necessity of regular and comprehensive monitoring.

Monitoring makes it possible to see what forest governance changes need to be made to improve ecosystem health. It is concerning, therefore, that information about the state of forests, and their trends towards destruction or restoration is often scattered, incomparable, inaccessible, outdated or entirely missing.

Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), scientists and foresters support the EU’s proposed monitoring framework for resilient European forests, or Forest Monitoring Law (FML). This briefing makes recommendations to ensure that the FML will enable the EU to live up to its commitments and base future plans on science, allowing for forest ecosystems restoration, carbon storage and sequestration, species protection and socio-economic prosperity:

Read the joint position paper on how European forests could best benefit from the EU Forest Monitoring Law