Taking Forests Into the Future

Because trees are awesome!

Jul 29, 2021
Taking Forests Into the Future | Because trees are awesome!

Did you know that forests cover an estimated 38 percent of the total land surface of the European Union (EU)? And that these extensive areas covered with trees and underbrush need to be protected, so they can continue to do good for the environment for the next generation? This is why the EU has just unveiled its ambitious new "Forest Strategy".  

The EU’s media release on the new blueprint spells out the important role that forests, made up of numerous trees, can play in safeguarding our environment: “Forests are an essential ally in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss: They function as carbon sinks and reduce the impacts of climate change, for example by cooling down cities, protecting us from heavy flooding, and reducing drought impact.”

Forests, of course, offer a long list of other benefits too.  As this release points out, they are valuable ecosystems that are home to a major part of the world’s biodiversity. But forests also boost our health and wellbeing through functions like water regulation, erosion control and air purification. And they serve as ideal settings for “recreation, relaxation and learning, as well as securing livelihoods.”

This new European-wide forest conservation vision takes in an impressive commitment to plant a minimum of three billion additional trees over the next decade. This is an ambitious plan but a long overdue one.

This is because these forests have been battered by severe weather and human impacts, particularly the demand for wood over the last ten years. As the EU Observer puts it: ”extreme weather events and the increasing demand for forest services and products, driven by wood-based bioenergy and international trade, has accelerated tree-cover loss in the last decade.”

This EU strategy has an appreciation of the complexity of forest sustainability built into its core. For instance, it plans to incentivize forest owners to adopt biodiversity-friendly management practices. But it will also strengthen enforcement actions to ensure that EU Member States apply EU law on forest protection and timber marketing. This is to ensure that harvesting remains within sustainability limits.

Observation, knowledge exchange, ongoing monitoring and close collaboration between public and private organizations and individuals are also key elements in this new continent-wide forest protection strategy.

This is a future-focused blueprint, designed to protect these precious green areas, and ensure that the trees and greenery, or the “lungs of the earth” that they are home to, are here to stay!

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.