Rural development measures for forests
Forests and other wooded land cover over 40% of the EU land area. These areas are managed mostly 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 Common Agriculture Policy, 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, including management of forests. Sound safeguards are nevertheless needed against perverse incentives and to ensure that public funding really delivers on the objectives set for its use.
Member States still use a very limited share of the rural development funding to improve the environmental status and management of forests. BirdLife Europe and its Partners are actively working on rural development funding and related plans at both EU and national level to ensure appropriate environmental safeguards to measures funded and effective allocation of funding, for forests as well as for other ecosystems.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.