An EU Forest Monitoring framework

Photo: Mostphotos

The Swedish Forest Industries welcomes greater availability of comparable quality data on forests in the EU. At the same time, we see a need for reassessing and clarifying some of the data to be collected and the policy relevance at EU level.

It is not obvious how the proposal adds relevant knowledge, especially for countries with national forest inventories that already exchange data within international initiatives, and in relation to mandatory monitoring already set in EU legislation. An important job for the co-legislators in the continued process will be to ensure a cost-effective framework tailored to clearly identified needs.

The legislative proposal, presented by the European Commission in late 2023, outlines an EU-wide forest observation framework to provide open access to detailed, accurate, regular and timely information on the condition and management of EU forests. The monitoring is centered around data from satellites and national forest inventories (NFI:s), but also includes additional indicators where the methodology is not yet defined. The proposal includes the possibility for Member States to develop or adapt existing integrated long-term forest plans.

SFIF presents the following recommendations on how the framework could achieve the stated objectives in a robust and cost-effective way:

  1. Focus on the overall state of forests at EU level
  2. Reexamine indicators that lack defined methodology and clear purpose
  3. Build a bottom-up framework based on National Forest Inventories
  4. Refrain from including provisions for voluntary long-term forest plans