International Day of Forests 2018: European forests can deliver even more benefits to society

On the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Forests and dedicated to “Forests for Sustainable Cities”, representatives of European forest owners, managers and forest-based industries call for more awareness and support to further use the potential of European forests to contribute to a sustainable future.

Forests play a crucial role in providing multiple benefits for citizens. They deliver forest products and many other ecosystem services (recreation, clean air and water, biodiversity, scenic and cultural values…). Wood is a renewable raw material used in construction, furniture, pulp and paper, as well as for energy. It also serves as a substitute for non-renewable raw materials and energy. Moreover, forests contribute to job creation and economic growth.

In this context, EU forests have the potential to keep – and possibly increase – their contribution to these needs in the coming years.  On average, 60% of the annual growth of EU forests is harvested, leading to a regular and significant increase in wood resources.

In the current discussion at EU level, several policies (research and innovation, rural development, climate and energy) and strategies (Forest Strategy, Bioeconomy Strategy) provide opportunities to enhance sustainable and multifunctional forest management while supporting the development of innovative bio-based value chains.

Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR, and Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General of CEPF, highlight that “There is still an important unexploited potential in terms of the wood and non-wood products and services provided by European forests. EU policies should contribute to unlock this potential so as to better meet existing and future demands. However, it should be stressed that sound economic prospects are essential in order for European forests to meet the growing social and environmental demands which are also being made on them”.

According to Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of CEPI, the European association representing the pulp and paper industry, “The EU should balance its target setting and demand-side approach with measures to increase supply. These measures should secure and improve forest growth and mobilise more wood from European forests for all kinds of uses“.

Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General of CEI-Bois highlights: “Forests and wood-based products play a central role in climate-change mitigation. This year’s theme of the UN International Day of Forests furthermore offers the opportunity to highlight the high potential contribution of timber building systems and wood construction materials.”

The undersigned organisations highlight the importance to better acknowledge and coordinate existing EU and national forest-related legislation which is already in place, which safeguard sustainable and multifunctional forestry and which are additionally supported by voluntary systems certification schemes. This is essential in ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the sector.

The International Day of Forests 2018 is taking place at a moment when EU policies have an opportunity to demonstrate how to enhance the potential of European forests and better mobilise their resources to further benefit society. This is an opportunity worth seizing.

For more information

Meri Siljama, CEPF Policy Advisor, meri.siljama@cepf-eu-org, +32 2239 2307

Salvatore Martire, EUSTAFOR Policy Advisor,, +32 2239 2306

Ulrich Leberle, CEPI Raw Materials Director,, +32 2627 4923

Patrizio Antinocoli, CEI-Bois Secretary General,, + 32 2556 2585

CoR/NAT Draft opinion on the mid-term review of the EU Forest Strategy

At its meeting on Friday 9 March, the European Committee of the Regions’ Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) approved the draft opinion on the mid-term review of the EU Forest Strategy, drawn up by member of Lapinlahti municipal council Ossi Martikainen (FI/ALDE). It sets the goal of a socially and environmentally sustainable forest policy which supports economic growth and employment and safeguards the diversity of forest ecosystems.

The CoR draft opinion 

Martikainen’s opinion is due to be adopted at the CoR plenary session on 16-17 May.

Wood export restrictions – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine

In a recent meeting of the Forest-based Industries of which EUSTAFOR is a member, the European Commission (DG Trade) informed about developments with regards to restrictions on the export of wood from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Russia to put quotas on birch logs exports

Based on a draft Decree published in November 2017, the Russian Federation intends to introduce export quotas for birch logs, initially foreseen to start on 1 January 2018, limited to a period of 6 months. The volume of the quotas mentioned in the draft Decree amounts to 567 000 m³ for six months, which would represent a reduction of approximately 1/3 of Russia’s average export volume for six months over the period 2014-2016. For technical reasons, the implementation of the quotas will not start before March 2018, and there may be a short transition period.

The EU has expressed concern about the intention to implement quotas and also asked for further clarification regarding their scope (e.g. birch veneer logs/birch pulp logs).

Russia spruce and pine tariff-rate quotas

There will be no changes with respect to the introduction of the 2012 quotas, of which only about 10-15% have been reached. Of this, about 80% goes to Finland.

Belarus Wood export restriction

Belarus has officially applied an export ban on unprocessed wood (HS 4403) since 1 January 2016. The export ban has now been replaced by an export licensing scheme which took effect on 1 August 2017, for a 6-months period, until 31 January 2018. The scheme covers primarily unprocessed wood and so-called hoopwood (HS 4404). General or single licenses are issued by the Belarusian Ministry of Trade in coordination with the Ministry of Forestry.

In 2016, EU imports of raw wood from Belarus had a value of approximately 91 million €, going mostly to Poland, followed by Romania and Latvia. Hoopwood imports into the EU from Belarus are less commercially relevant (approx. 18 million € in 2016). Belarus is in the process of joining the WTO. Its export licensing scheme for wood products should thus already be made WTO-compatible at the pre-accession stage.

Ukraine wood export ban

The EU considers Ukraine is in violation of its WTO and DCFTA commitments with regards to its export ban which entered into force in November 2015 and which will be in place for 10 years. The ban covers all wood types except (initially) pine. Pine exports are now also banned since 1 January 2017. According to the Ukrainian government, the measure is aimed at developing the wood processing industry in Ukraine, creating new jobs and raising the supply of raw materials for domestic firms. The European Commission continues to raise the issue.

For the full presentation of the Commission, please contact the Executive Office.

EUSTAFOR input to the evaluation of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

EUSTAFOR took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the European Commission’s evaluation of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change and contributed to the public consultation with input collected from its member organizations.

In the previous issue of the (No 67), the EUSTAFOR office informed about the evaluation of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change launched by the European Commission. The Executive Office collected contributions from the members and submitted a consolidated input to the consultation, highlighting that European forests, which cover more than 40% of the EU, represent a crucial sector which should be duly addressed in the cross-sectoral EU strategy for adaptation to climate change. While forests have the potential to facilitate the EU’s adaptation to climate change, they are themselves heavily affected by climate change. Therefore, it is imperative to include the relevance of adaptive forest management, and the need to invest in resilient forest ecosystems, when discussing Climate Change Adaptation. At the European level, this should be done within the framework of the EU Forest Strategy, which should be the coordination framework for EU policies. This may have an impact on forests and their management.

Additional financing sources need to be mobilized to step up adaptation measures in the forest sector. Forestry (namely Sustainable Forest Management) should feature more prominently in the EU adaptation strategy. Given the high diversity across Europe, it is possible to identify some priorities for increasing the resilience of forest ecosystems:

  • Support to silvicultural measures such as planting mixed stands, selective thinnings, decreasing the rotation age, multi-layer stands, etc.;
  • Enhancing genetic resource management;
  • Increasing risk prevention, particularly against wildfires, storms, pests (especially bark beetle infestations).

More information about the process can be found under this link:






European Commission to develop guidance for cascading use of woody biomass – Open survey

The European Commission plans to produce the guidance on the cascading use of biomass as indicated in the Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015. Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) is leading the process and has opened the possibility to provide input through an on-line survey. EUSTAFOR has nominated its experts to closely collaborate with DG Grow on the guidance.

According to the European Commission:

  • The guidance will be non-binding and non-regulatory in nature, presenting the principles and the working definition on cascading use, as well as set of practical examples, with the aim of knowledge-sharing and facilitation of uptake in various conditions of use. The approach will support the implementation of the general Industrial Policy Strategy and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The development of the guidance will take place by mid-2018.
  • The F-BI Expert Group (read minutes of the meeting on 22 January 2018), of which EUSTAFOR is a part, will be the main group to assess the draft guidance in its meeting in May 2018. However, other stakeholders and international organizations will be also consulted bilaterally and during the workshop planned for mid-April 2018 in Brussels. The Commission also has an Inter-Service Group on the cascading guidance, which will support DG GROW in its compilation.

The Commission has launched an on-line survey to collect good practices from all the wood-based value chains and from across Europe. All stakeholders are invited to submit examples of their good practices and experiences. The deadline for the contributions is 9 April 2018. Please follow this link to participate:

The Commission has requested the nomination of experts to Member States and stakeholders to assist in this work. EUSTAFOR’s ExCom nominated Jussi Kumpula (Metsähallitus) and Salvatore Martire (Brussels Office) as experts to contribute to this work. Furthermore, the Bioeconomy Working Group is expected to facilitate the elaboration of EUSTAFOR’s inputs.

Contact information of the experts:
Jussi Kumpula
Managing Director
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd
+358 (0)400 388 614
+358 (0)206 39 6657
PL 81 (Veteraanikatu 5), 90101 Oulu, Finland

Salvatore Martire
Policy Advisor
European State Forest Association
T   +32(0)2 23 92 306
M +32(0)4 72 044 759
European Forestry House| Rue du Luxembourg, 66, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

EUSTAFOR’s initial understanding on cascade use has been based on the fact that the ultimate end-use of forest biomass should not be administratively regulated by EU legislation through imposing administrative barriers on the raw material markets. Instead, the development of the bioeconomy should enhance the most efficient and value-added use of biomass (wood assortments) available from forests and even enhance the measures that lead to the increased mobilization of underutilized potentials, if feasible. Creating added value and profitability in all parts of the value chain are key to a truly innovative bioeconomy. Restrictions on the use of biomass for certain end uses without respecting the free market rules could only lead to market distortions, limit the research, innovation and, in consequence, the future potential for economic development. Restrictions on biomass use could also result in uneven treatment of certain industries over others. Therefore, the guidance should have the same approach as the European Commission’s “Cascades” study , which identifies the need to improve recycling processes after the first wood processing.

In contacts so far, EUSTAFOR has invited the Commission to take into account the unintended consequences of policy-driven cascade use, the additional environmental impacts of increased biomass recycling, as well as the diversity of local conditions across Europe which impacts alternative wood uses.


Building up a network for forest extension and advisory services

European Forest Institute (EFI) supported the Finnish Forest Centre in mobilizing the network of forest extension organizations in Europe with a goal of establishing international cooperation in the field. EUSTAFOR was invited to the first meeting with the representatives of forest extension organizations to present a general overview of the forest-related policy agenda in the EU and relevant communications and advocacy activities.

A preliminary step in launching the cooperation was to map forest extension organizations in Europe. Representatives from most of them were contacted through interviews. The physical meeting in Bonn was organized with a purpose to allow the representatives of forest extension organizations to meet and decide, in a participatory manner, on the best way to proceed with international cooperation. There were 30 representatives from 15 European countries who took part in this meeting, which consisted of a workshop held at EFI’s premises in Bonn and a field session hosted by the State Forests of North-Rhein Westphalia.

EFI will continue to support this collaborative process and organizations were encouraged to volunteer to host the next meeting.

Relevant documents are available from this post.

How to deal with MegaFires in Europe

A workshop on forest fire risk management “Under a new wildland fire context: How to face megafires in Europe” was jointly organized by the European Commission, the Superior Institute of Agronomy in Lisbon and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation on 15-16 February 2018 in Lisbon (Portugal). EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director was invited to present EUSTAFOR’s views on how to manage EU forests and landscapes in the long term.

The Workshop was opened by Commissioner Carlos Moedas, who stated that forest fires are a major concern for Europe, and EU solidarity and support are active at all stages in fire prevention, during the crisis management and in the post-disaster reconstruction.

The impetus for the workshop was given by a series of wildfires which swept through several southern European countries during 2017, causing an extraordinary socioeconomic impact in terms of both loss of human lives and economic damage. According to experts such extreme wildfire events – called ‘megafires’ – originate from the cumulative effects of global warming, the expansion of fire-prone landscapes, and population shifts into and out of wildland and rural settings. Megafires most severely impact nearby communities. They also cause serious regional and global consequences on ecosystem services, energy/water/nutrient cycles, and GHG emissions.

According to experts in the field, the conventional suppression-centered wildfire and forest management strategies applied so far no longer efficiently address the phenomenon of megafires. Even though progress has been made at different levels – for example the revision of national forest programs, the development of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, and voluntary codes of best practice – the growing number of megafires indicates that contemporary land management strategies need to account for the disturbance regimes and ecosystem types that define these landscapes.

The workshop aimed at enhancing innovative thinking and new ideas for future approaches to forest and forest-fire management. It built upon the existing know-how, understanding and lessons learned from preventing, fighting and restoring after megafires. Key actors and partners discussed how to improve multi-level coordination and governance to better integrate forest fire management strategies. Reinforcing the dialogue between the main actors (scientists, practitioners, civil society, and policy makers) at the relevant scales (local, regional, national) and strengthening European cooperation on forest fire risk management were the main objectives of the workshop.

EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director spoke at Session II which focused on how to minimize forest fire risk while maximizing ecosystem-based forest and landscape management and the provision of ecosystem services as well as how to enhance synergies between rural development policies, risk management policies and climate change adaptation strategies in the forest and agricultural sectors to build and manage more resistant and resilient landscapes. The program of the workshop and EUSTAFOR’s presentation is available under this link (members only):

LULUCF Regulation: What impact for the forest management?

The provisional agreement on the LULUCF proposal (see also EE67) was approved by COREPER on 17 January 2018 and by the ENVI Committee on 24 January. The vote in the plenary is expected for April 2018, whereas the formal adoption of this legislation will only occur once an agreement is found in the effort sharing regulation given the links between both legislative acts.


The agreed text on the regulation concerning the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) in the 2030 climate and energy framework differs with the European Commission proposal as regards forest management in the following aspects:

  • It introduces flexibility in the accounting of managed forests for Member States where these represent an important carbon sink.


  • the Member State concerned may only compensate for sink accounted as emissions against their forest reference level and this only up to the maximum amount of compensation for that Member State as set out in Annex VII for the period from 2021 to 2030.
  • Finland may compensate up to 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions provided that the conditions listed in points (a) and (b) of paragraph 2 are met.
  • It modifies the definition of Forest Reference Levels emphasizing that these should not affect increased intensities in wood harvesting;
  • It keeps a cap (3,5%) on credits from removals from FRL to be used within the LULUCF sector, but it excludes Harvested Wood Products and dead wood from the cap. Therefore, credits resulting from Harvested Wood Products and deadwood can be used with no limitations.

The listed modifications relate to the main concerns expressed earlier by EUSTAFOR, and the priorities defined together with other stakeholders from the sector, namely private forest owners (CEPF and COPA-COGECA), the paper industry (CEPI) and the woodworking industry (CEI-Bois).

The relevant documents in relation to the final stage of the negotiations on the LULUCF Regulation can be found at EUSTAFOR’s Intranet under this link:

At this stage, it is important to assess the impact of the new regulation on forestry in the light of the accounting models defined at Member State level, as the EU only gives aggregated results. In this context, EUSTAFOR and EOS (European Organization of Sawmill Industries), a member of CEI-Bois, plan to hold a joint workshop on the practical implications of the inclusion of managed forests in the 2030 Climate and Energy framework.


Why forests should stay at the core of EU Rural Development Policy

PRESS RELEASE – 6.03.2018

In its latest position paper “Sustainable Forestry for Rural Livelihoods” EUSTAFOR shares seven policy recommendations to enhance rural development policy post-2020 in light of the EU objectives in relation to “Jobs, Growth and Investment” and “Energy Union and Climate.”

The EU’s Rural Development Policy is the main tool to support the implementation of sustainable forest management and, thus, enable contributions of forests to improve competitiveness and job creation, while ensuring the delivery of ecosystem services to the society at large. EUSTAFOR General Assembly on 26/2/2018 has adopted a position paper, which identifies the following seven priorities:

1) Adaptive forest management needs to be supported
It is essential to ensure the present and future adaptability of Europe’s forests to climate change by investing in innovative, adaptive forest management systems, including those related to gene conservation and plant propagation materials, forest health and disease control.

2) The risk resilience of forests must become a priority
Prevention of forest fires, pests, storm damages and other threats can be effectively done through further investments in Sustainable Forest Management, the diffusion of agroforestry systems, and the development of infrastructure.

3) Sustainable management of existing forests is as important as afforestation
Investments in active forest management are necessary not only for rural development but also for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moreover, continued innovation and investments in forestry are essential to improve existing forest stands and enhance their quality and productivity.

4) State forests must be recognized as enablers of the rural renaissance
There is a need to enhance the synergies of using wood and improving land management by raising consumer awareness of sustainable production and consumption patterns. The RDP post-2020 should also aim to facilitate new innovation partnerships, which are of great importance for rural development.

5) State forests contribution to biodiversity and Natura 2000 should be better recognized
State Forest Management Organisations can ensure the implementation of measures on a large scale. However, in order for the biodiversity and Natura 2000 objectives to be met, the Rural Development Policy post-2020 must ensure that the incentives are provided based on the implementation results achieved.

6) Supporting the delivery of ecosystem services from multifunctional state forests is crucial
Extra costs resulting from the provision of ecosystem services, which are not paid for by the market, need to be taken into consideration by support systems ­in order to secure the economic viability of forest management.

7) Incentives must be based on the provision of services rather than on the type of ownership
The provision of ecosystem services to the public should always be economically sound and, when this is not possible, it must be supported on the basis of clear and ambitious common objectives.
In EUSTAFOR’s view, such support should, therefore, be provided regardless of ownership or enterprise type.

Read the full position paper:

EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, gathers together 33 State Forest Management Organizations from across Europe, which often are the single largest forest manager and biomass supplier in Member States. EUSTAFOR members employ leading forest experts with deep knowledge of forest management. In fact, the role of state foresters is to balance different demands through multifunctional forestry in response to local conditions and societal needs, by advancing sustainability and creating value in state forests. EUSTAFOR’s views are based on the management expertise, which comes from their lengthy experience with a full diversity of European forests.

Joint messages from forest and agriculture sectors to feed ongoing Renewable Energy Directive trilogue negotiations

The EP has voted its final position on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, which avoids the inclusion of negative formulations previously proposed by certain political groups within the EP. The final position supports a risk-based approach to assess the risk of unsustainable sourcing of forest biomass (originally proposed by the European Commission) and the broad scope of feedstocks eligible for advanced biofuels (included in Annex IX to the draft directive).

The trilogue negotiations officially started on 27 February 2018, and several meetings are planned until May 2018. In the course of Trilogue negotiations it is important to advocate for further improvements such as the simplification of sustainability requirements, limiting EC competences on setting the rules for the verification of biomass sustainability, the deletion of references to raw material market distortions (eg. in Art 3) whilst maintaining the ambition of the EP on the requirements for advanced biofuels.

For these reasons an Appeal to recognise the role of forest bioenergy in the Renewable Energy Directive post-2020 has been extended by EUSTAFOR and several other organizations from the forestry and agricultural sectors including Confederation of European Forest Owners – CEPF, European Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives – COPA-COGECA, European Landowners’ Organisation – ELO, European Council of Young Farmers – CEJA, Union of European Foresters – UEF, European Organisation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors – CEETTAR, European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry – EOS, and Union of Foresters of Southern Europe – USSE.

The Joint letter and other relevant documents, including the position paper published by EUSTAFOR and its partners, can be found under this link:

EU policies should better recognize multiple forestry values

The representatives of chief executives of European State Forest Management Organizations discussed with policymakers and stakeholders about the importance of multifunctional forestry as a public good and how to ensure the provision of forest ecosystem services.

An open seminar with policymakers and stakeholders entitled “Value Forestry Values” was held on 27 February 2018, back to back with the 12th General Assembly of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR). The aim of the seminar was to foster dialogue between policy, practice and research & innovation on the options for coherent policies and managerial opportunities, which can boost innovation and attract investments in the sector while taking full advantage of the multiple goods and services forests provide.

“The delivery of multiple forest services requires a sound economic basis. We are deeply convinced that a strong forest-based bioeconomy needs to encompass the ecosystem management dimension, and properly value the provision of wood and other forest services,” states Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.

The seminar was highly attended by EU policymakers and stakeholders. Key presentations were delivered by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (European Parliament), Ignacio Seoane (DG AGRI), Humberto Delgado Rosa (DG ENVI), Miranda Winram (Forestry Commission England), Johan Elvnert (FTP). The presentations were followed by an interactive panel discussion, including representatives of IUCN and Coillte (State Forest Organization, Ireland), on the Natural Capital of forest management organizations. Participants had the opportunity to interact on how to set a value on the ecosystem services provided by forests for the needs of society.

In EUSTAFOR’s view, EU policies, such as the ones related to Bioeconomy and Rural Development, should better recognize the ecosystem management dimension. At the same time, environmental policies need to clearly recognize the multifunctionality of sustainable forest management.

Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area. They provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials as well as essential ecosystem services. On the one hand, the provision of many ecosystem services from forests is not always recognized and properly valued. On the other hand, wood provision, which is a predominant source of income in forestry, is often considered as a trade-off for other essential ecosystem services. State Forest Management Organizations constantly seek to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions by taking care of the common good, which our forests represent.

A report of the seminar and its key outcome will be made available at in due time.


EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, gathers together 33 State Forest Management Organizations from across Europe, which often are the single largest forest managers and biomass suppliers in the Member States. EUSTAFOR members employ leading forest experts with deep knowledge of forest management. In fact, the role of state foresters is to balance different demands through multifunctional forestry in response to local conditions and societal needs, by advancing sustainability and creating value in state forests. EUSTAFOR’s views are based on management expertise, which comes from their lengthy experience with the full diversity of European forests.

Value Forestry Values

An open seminar with policy makers and stakeholders entitled “Value Forestry Values” was held on 27 February 2018 , back to back with t he 12 th General Assembly of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) . The aim of the seminar was to foster dialogue between policy, practice and research & innovation on the options for coherent policies and managerial opportunities, which can boost innovation and attract investments in the sector while taking full advantage of the multiple goods and services forests provide.

“ The delivery of m ultiple forest services requires a sound eco nomic basis . We are deeply convinced that a strong forest – based bioeconomy needs to encompass the ecosystem management dimension , and properly value the provision of wood and other forest services , ” states Piotr Borkowski , Executive Director of EUSTAFOR .

Come back on this page to get more materials, pictures, presentations of the seminar as soon as those become available. 

Pictures and Press Release 1/3/2018 available