With over 56% of the EU population living in rural areas, the effective implementation of rural development policies is a key component for lowering unemployment levels and returning growth to Europe.
Often located in remote and less industrialised areas, the European woodworking industry has long been a central player in rural communities supporting stable employment while encouraging investment.
The continued development of the woodworking industry will help to avoid delocalisation across the EU and instead enhance the competitiveness of rural areas.
Afforestation and reforestation across Europe should be encouraged!
In addition to enhancing harvesting of existing sustainably managed forests, the establishment of new woodlands will help to meet the increasing demand for wood grown and sourced in the EU. Moreover, the European concept of sustainably managed forests also includes carefully planned reforestation. The important role of the forestbased sector within the EU bio-economy and the need to provide more biomass from sustainably managed forests are essential to convince land owners to contribute to this endeavour by establishing new forests that represent a long term commitment.
The right EU policy framework and incentives should offer socio-economic conditions which make it attractive to be an active forest owner and/or an entrepreneur. The EU Rural Development funds should be used to support the creation of new woodland and for reforestation. Beside technical measures, activities in awareness raising and motivating land owners in establishing new forested areas have to be supported. Research on and implementation of new approaches to integrate increased biomass production with improved provision of other ecosystem services in the sustainable management of forests need political and financial assistance.
For more information: woodforgrowth.eu