Forests cover almost half of Europe’s land area and the trends show their expansion as a response to the growing demand for forest products and services. Forests provide vital benefits for people and the planet; they are essential for biodiversity, the fight against climate change, cleaning our air and water and providing food or space for recreation (including mental health) as well as a wide range of economic activities. 

The maintenance, conservation, and appropriate enhancement of biodiversity should be a key goal for forest management in Europe, but present evidence shows that the biodiversity of Europe’s forests is under threat with forestry land use being one of the factors[1]. Several EU strategies, guidelines and legislative instruments have been put in place to reverse this trend. EU Nature legislation provides for the designation and management of valuable Natura 2000 forest areas. The proposal for Nature Restoration Law promotes a systematic approach to ensure forest restoration through targets complementing natural regeneration. The ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030’ aims to protect at least 30 % of the EU’s land area and to strictly protect at least one third of this area, including all remaining primary and old-growth forests. In addition, the ‘EU Forestry Strategy to 2030’ includes instruments for the protection, restoration, management and monitoring of the EU’s forests. 

Milieu has in-depth knowledge of EU legislation and policies related to the environment and nature resources, and is increasing its work on EU forest policy by leading key projects that support the Commission in the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy and the 3 billion trees EU Pledge. 

[1] European Environment Agency, 2019, The European environment — state and outlook 2020: knowledge for transition to a sustainable Europe, pp.115-131.

Support for implementing the 3 Billion Trees Pledge (Led by Milieu), DG ENV

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 includes the EU commitment to plant three billion additional trees by 2030 in different ecosystems in forests, agriculture, urban and rural areas. The trees planted must go beyond a business-as-usual scenario and respect the ecological principles (the right tree, in the right place, at the right time, and for the right purpose, in particular nature conservation and climate change). The EU Forest Strategy for 2030 provides a roadmap to implement the 3 Billion Trees Pledge for 2030.  This project aims to promote the initiative, identify financial support instruments at EU, national and local level, and identify challenges for tree planting and contributions to the EU pledge. Milieu, with the support of Ecologic and Stritih, is assisting the Commission in the implementation and finalisation of the actions necessary to achieve the commitment and is providing technical and logistical support. 

Visit Milieu webpage dedicated to the project here. 

Support for implementing the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 (led by Milieu), DG ENV

This project aims to support the Commission with the implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030. Among other things, Milieu will conduct a scientific literature review that would yield a performance and gap analysis of existing criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and will assess relevant certification schemes. We will also support the dissemination and uptake of the guidelines on closer-to-nature forestry, biodiversity-friendly afforestation, reforestation and tree planting, and on primary and old-growth forests. Building on the work done, Milieu will conduct a comparative assessment and gap analysis of Member States’ requirements and criteria applicable to Forest Management Plans in relation to the objectives of the EU Forest Strategy on climate and biodiversity. Mapping old growth forests in the EU or the use of Natura 2000 logo for non-forest products will complement the project tasks.  

In general, Milieu, with the support of the consortium members, Stritih, Ecologic and IEEP, will provide support to the Commission on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy and its deliverables by providing expertise on forest science and addressing societal questions on the role of healthy and resilient forests. 

Visit Milieu webpage dedicated to the project here.