2 minute read / August 7, 2023
The European Commission takes a major stride towards promoting sustainable forest management with the launch of two groundbreaking guidelines. The “closer to nature” guidelines aim to bolster forest multifunctionality and climate resilience while ensuring long-term economic and societal benefits. In parallel, the guidance on payment schemes for forest ecosystem services opens up opportunities for land managers and foresters to reap monetary rewards by providing diverse ecosystem services.
European forests face challenges due to lack of diversity, with many areas dominated by even-aged monocultures. This hampers forest resilience, leaving over 60% of biomass vulnerable to risks like fires and pest outbreaks. Enter the “closer to nature” approach, fostering diverse and dynamic forests with natural structures. By tapping into the wider potential of forests beyond timber, this management strategy enhances habitats for biodiversity, water purification, climate regulation, and more.
Furthermore, the Commission’s guidance on payment schemes encourages sustainable forest practices that go beyond wood production. Forests offer an array of valuable ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, cooling capacities, and the provision of renewable raw materials and medicines. Unlocking the financial potential of these services is crucial to address climate change, drive a circular bioeconomy, and ensure a healthy society.
These voluntary guidelines align with the EU Biodiversity Strategy and Forest Strategy and have been developed in collaboration with Member States and forest stakeholders. With support and widespread adoption, they promise to revolutionize forest management practices and pave the way towards a greener and more prosperous future.