According to figures from the Forest and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nation (FAO) between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by more than 44,000 km2 – an area bigger than Switzerland – this amounts to over 1,500 football pitches of forest growth every day! Today, European forests stand 30% larger in area than they did in the 1950s.
In Europe, the use of forests is also subject to stringent legislation andwood comes from well-managed forests where the cycle of natural regeneration, planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled.
We, the European forest fibre and paper industry committed early on to sourcing wood from sustainably managed forests. The industry has supported the development of criteria and indicators in the ‘Forest Europe‘ process. This intergovernmental process provides general guidelines which all EU Member States implement nationally.
Through legislation, Member States define binding requirements that operators have to fulfill when planting, thinning, logging and managing forests.
Well-managed forests provide a natural habitat for wildlife. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has stated that ‘Forestry practice in Europe is developing in a way that can be considered good for biodiversity.’ All pulp imported to Europe is covered by the EU Timber Regulation which prohibits imports of wood products from illegally harvested timber.
We rely on forests to deliver the raw material for pulp and paper products. It is vital to the success of our business that the industry acts responsibly and promotes biodiversity, forest health and productivity, as well as providing the many other benefits from forests that society needs.
Please click here to read more about how we promote biodiversity.
Forests also have an important economic role beyond providing a renewable base for resources as they provide vital income and employment in rural areas and down the forest-based value chain. In fact, 63% of the employees in the European forest fibre and paper industry are employed in rural areas.
Forest biomass comes from sustainable sources and using wood for bioenergy should only be considered on the basis of the “cascading use of wood principle”.
The cascading use of wood is a principle is one which naturally follows a market-based approach, which should lead to specific measures to balance subsidy-induced market distortions.
This principle promotes the most efficient use of natural resources, optimising value creation and using the material firstly for food (ideally), then products and finally for energy.
To ensure the continuing health and sustainable use of forest raw materials in Europe, solid biomass should only be eligible for subsidies when it is proven to be efficient.
This cascading principle allows for a situation where every wood fibre is used in average almost 2.5 times instead of just one, which contributes to resource efficiency and increased value creation for European society. The by-products that are produced by our industry can then be used by other industries, leading to industrial symbiosis e.g. leftover bark is often used as a means of biomass that can heat for district heating.
Using wood or paper for recycling for energy – 1x added value
Using wood for wood products, pulp & paper, recycled paper and creating energy –
9x more added value and 7x more jobs
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