Answer given by Commissioner Mr Hogan: Support measures for sustainable forests

Written answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the European Commission to a question (Rule 130) by Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL) concerning Support measures for sustainable forests.

The EU Forest Strategy builds on the principles of sustainable forest management, the multifunctional role of forests, resource efficiency and global responsibility. It also recognises the need to contribute to balancing forest functions, meeting demands and delivering vital ecosystem services. It calls for a review by 2018 that will assess progress in its implementation and is expected to help identify gaps and shortcomings.

The sustainable management of forests is among the Union priorities for rural development. The forestry measures under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) have been found to address economic, environmental and social objectives and adequately address the needs and challenges for multifunctional forests in the EU.

For the 2014-2020 period, beyond afforestation and agroforestry, which can deliver a number of critical services such as water and climate regulation, other forestry measures are also relevant for protecting these services, including: prevention and restoration of damage to forests, investments improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems, or payments for forest-environmental and climate commitments.

Under shared management, it is up to the Member State or the region to decide whether these measures, combined with other rural development measures, are taken up in their respective rural development programmes, based on their specific needs.

Question for written answer E-004270-18 to the Commission
Rule 130
Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Support measures for sustainable forests

Today, forests are under threat from countless social, economic and environmental factors. In Portugal, the loss of profitability of traditional timber production has led to a monoculture regime, which, together with climate change, makes it more likely that serious and large-scale wildfires will occur.

Approximately 90% of EU forest-related funds come from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, covering investments in afforestation and the creation of wooded areas, in the establishment of agroforestry systems and in the area of prevention. In other words, the CAP does not provide for any kind of remuneration for forest environmental services.

It is clear that this type of support is clearly insufficient to ensure the profitability of an investment in the so-called sustainable forest whose life cycle is incompatible with the funding horizons of Community assistance.

Will the Commission say whether, in view of the worrying situation of southern European countries as a result of climate change, it is considering readjusting its 2013 EU Strategy for Forests and the Forest-based Sector and its ‘Forest MAP’ action programme in order to create assistance to promote the multifunctional character of forests, in particular their environmental, economic and social aspects?

Source: European Parliament

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