The focus on forests as a carbon sink is from a forestry point of view a short term solution. In the long term the climate benefits from the forests and the forest products are much more important.
At the same time, the halting of deforestation is an important element in global measures to mitigate climate change. In various places worldwide, deforestation is often poverty-driven.
In Europe, however, conditions are different. Since 1990, the EU's stock of growing timber has increased by almost one third. As a result, the EU's forests now annually bind carbon dioxide equivalent to 10 percent of the EU's emissions of greenhouse gases. This is a fantastic accomplishment and the sustainable forest resource can do much more to help reach the EU's climate targets and successfully develop a bioeconomy.
To fully develop a sustainable bioeconomy, more innovation and political measures are needed. Together, these will lead to a flourishing, green industry and to a wider variety and greater number of employment opportunities in the EU. Furthermore, forests have an important role for biodiversity as well as human recreation.
There is no contradiction in managing forests and practising sustainable forestry. The best way to tackle climate challenges is active forest management with increased growth and sustainable felling and production of timber products, fibre and energy.