The Biodiversity Strategy must contribute to overall EU Green Deal objectives

The implementation of the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy cannot happen in isolation. Instead, the implementation must strongly interact with and be balanced versus other policy objectives under the EU Green Deal. Furthermore, the implementation must be based on actual European biodiversity conditions.

The Swedish Forest Industries is critical to biodiversity policy making being carried out in isolation in a time when a holistic perspective is more needed than ever before.

“The EU 2050 climate-neutrality objective requires heavy investment in forest growth and increased availability of wood raw material – to capture and store carbon dioxide and to substitute fossil resources”, says Magnus Berg, Head of Business Policies at the Swedish Forest Industries.

“The Biodiversity Strategy must contribute to, not hamper, the forest-based sector’s contribution to the European Green Deal objectives”, Anna Holmberg, Head of Brussels Office, Swedish Forest Industries, continues.

Magnus Berg and Anna Holmberg are worried that a legal protection of at least 30 per cent of the EU's land area and a strict protection of at least a third of this, will result in more forest being set aside and less being available to contribute to sustainable development's economic and social as well as environmental goals.

“We would have expected a more tailored approach in the Strategy to European forests, which are in a better state than the global average. The Strategy jumps from the global context to defining objectives for Europe, whose impacts have yet to be thoroughly assessed from an environmental, economic and social perspective”, says Magnus Berg.

Put the forest owners at the core of the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy

The Strategy doesn’t well enough acknowledge the European forest-sector’s existing sustainable forest management including efforts to improve biodiversity.

“The forest owners should be at the core of the Strategy implementation, as it is only the forest owners that can combine management and conservation of forest biodiversity. Biodiversity can thrive also in managed forests. Forest-owing companies have integrated biodiversity measures into their management for decades”, says Magnus Berg.

Sustainable forest management is defined by Forest Europe, the pan-European cooperation consisting of 46 European countries and the European Union. At the EU level, the Standing Forestry Committee has a long experience in reconciling different national characteristics and applying a holistic approach in the implementation of sustainable forest management.

Member State competence clearly at risk of being infringed

Based on objectives set in the Strategy and the upcoming implementation, Swedish Forest Industries also experience that Member State competence on forest related policy is clearly at the risk of being infringed.

“Acknowledge Member State lead on work related to conservation and protection of habitats and species. Also refer any work on definitions, concepts of importance for objectives to be met and guidelines to Member States. This is of vital importance, as there is no one-size-fits-all due to the variety of European forests”, says Magnus Berg.