Our future relies on sustainably managed, resilient forests. The EU Green Deal is an opportunity to preserve biodiversity while realizing the major role European forests play in Europe’s new growth strategy to achieve a fair and prosperous society and resource-efficient, competitive economy – void of net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Meeting these objectives can only be achieved if policymakers follow a holistic approach to forest management.
The people behind the forests
European forests are not only trees, but entire ecosystems providing many different services beneficial to our environment, economy and social life. But before talking about forests and their benefits, we must first begin with a basic but important fact: forest management does not happen by itself – there are people behind forests. Meet them, as they live, breathe and grow with the resource they hold so dear. As forest caretakers, it is essential that policymakers acknowledge their important role and secure their motivation.
The focus of European forest owners and managers is to maintain and enhance healthy, vital forest ecosystems, which continue to provide a diverse spectrum of goods and services to society. This is achieved by balancing the multiple aspects of forestry through implementing the concept of multi-functionality and sustainable forest management (SFM) – a concept widely defined according to criteria and indicators developed and agreed at pan-European level during the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. Exercised in daily management practices by forest owners across Europe, SFM principles ensure that our forests provide relevant services and will continue to do so in the future. Forest owners are also the ones making the management decisions and taking on the responsibility of all consequences related to these decisions.