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Despite the increasing use of biomass for energy and materials, Europe’s forests are still steadily growing, as they have been for the past three decades, Bioenergy Europe reports.
Editorial office / Brussels

Between 2010 and 2020, he EU 27 had an average annual increase of 262.000 ha of forest area. In 2020, forests and other wooded land represented nearly half (45%) of its land area.

Harvesting levels in every country analysed are below their net annual increment value. This means that the amount of wood harvested from the forest is less than what grows every year. This ensures that forests continue growing.

Reducing risks

Forests play a vital role in supplying biomass for the bioeconomy, sequestering carbon, and providing habitats that protect biodiversity. They are however threatened by climate changes leading to stronger storms, hotter and drier summers, and milder winters. It is important to take action to preserve forest ecosystems. This can be done by supporting the active management of forests to actively reduce the risks of climate disasters.

Responding to forest disturbances, bioenergy plays an important role. It provides a use for salvage logging which harvests low quality wood which cannot meet the quality required by sawmill, pulp and panel industries. This valorisation helps defray costs and provide funding for forest owners to improve the health of their forests.

The researchers state that forestry is, and should remain, the competence of Member States. Forests in Europe are too diverse to regulate the specifics of sustainable forest management at the European level. They also recommend the promotion of an integrated approach to forest biodiversity conservation and to support a bio-based economy, because feedstock supply from forests will encourage a necessary transition from fossil-based to a bio-based economy.

The full report is available for download on the Bioenergy Europe website.

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