Rural development measures for forests
Forests and other wooded land cover over 40% of the EU land area. These areas are managed primary for wood production, while management that enhances other forest functions (biodiversity or ecosystem services) is limited. The reason for this trend is that wood products provide a direct income for the forest owner, while the rest of forest services provide mainly public goods (habitat for species, water storage, climate change mitigation, health support, etc.)
The Rural Development Regulation (RDR), also known as Pillar II of the CAP, is meant to address current and future environmental challenges and ensure consistency between EU policies (eg. 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, Strategy on Climate Change, etc).
Forest owners and forest managers should be supported to increase the sustainability of their management practices, but sound safeguards are needed against perverse incentives that still plague the policy, for example environmentally harmful afforestation using exotic species. Public investment also need to be based on the elaboration of sound management plans.
Read more (June 2012)
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