Forest Managers Play a Key Role in Natura 2000 Directives Implementation

Forest owners, managers and administrators have insisted that they must be included in decision-making at all levels of the implementation process in order to ensure that the goals of the EU Nature Directives will be reached. This message was emphasized when the “Action Plan for nature, people and the economy,” recently adopted by the European Commission, was presented at a conference which took place on 6 June, in Brussels, and was co-hosted by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Maltese Presidency.

According to the conclusions of the Fitness Check process, which preceded the Action Plan, there is still room to improve on the implementation of the Nature Directives. In order to foster better implementation and acceptance of Natura 2000 management plans, the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) strongly advocates a bottom-up approach, pushing for partnerships with and the involvement of forest owners, managers and other stakeholder communities who are the ones ultimately responsible for delivering results on the ground.

“The management of State forest lands is multifunctional,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR. “State forest managers have to balance different social, ecological and economic aspects in their daily operations. The best results can be achieved when the profound expertise and experience of state forest managers, as well as the potential of state forestry, are already better recognized during the decision-making process.”

As a result of decades of experience in sustainable forest management, state forests have contributed to Natura 2000 from the very start. “The more forest managers are involved in the strategic planning phase, the more efficiently Natura 2000 objectives will be integrated into their daily operations. This will make the Natura 2000 network an even greater success than it already is,” says Mr. Borkowski.

Very often, conservation measures require special approaches or exceptional silvicultural techniques. EUSTAFOR strongly advocates a sound EU financing instrument to compensate extra costs incurred or income foregone as a result of the implementation of Natura 2000 measures. Such a system should support the provision of environmental services independently of the type of ownership.

EUSTAFOR’s members manage 30 % of the EU’s forests and are highly committed to sustainable forest management. State forests satisfy the needs of European society by providing a multitude of goods and ecosystem services, including biodiversity. Out of 49 million hectares of managed land, more than 8 million hectares are protected by national nature conservation laws and another almost 8 million hectares have been designated as Natura 2000 sites.

For more information please contact:

Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director  +32 (0)2 239 23 04

Juha Mäkinen, Communication Director +358 40 570 9307


The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) represents state forest companies, enterprises and agencies that have sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as major concerns. The Association currently has 33 members in 22 European countries. EUSTAFOR members manage around one third of the EU forest area. The total harvest of EUSTAFOR members is over 130 million m3 of round timber per annum and together they employ more than 100 000 individuals. 

Photo: State forest organisations are forerunners in ecological restoration. A drained bog five years after restoration in Nurmes, Eastern Finland.


Published 06/06/2017, Brussels

Mr. Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

Mr. Juha Mäkinen

Communication Director

More information

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