Forests cover approximately 30% of the Earth’s land area, host 80% of its biodiversity; support the livelihoods of around a quarter of the world’s population.
At the EU level, forests cover approximately 42% of the land area. In addition to providing economic and job opportunities to local communities, forests are an irreplaceable biodiversity reservoirs and carbon sinks; they prevent soil erosion; they provide clean water through filtration; they clean the air; they play a central role in risk reduction measures vis-à-vis natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, erosion or landslides; and they support leisure and recreation, essential for human health.
The world’s forests are in serious danger from deforestation and forest degradation, with a forest area of 1.3 million square kilometres lost between 1990 and 2016. Pressures on EU forest ecosystems due to climate change and unsustainable forest management are a reason for concern and are expected to increase in the future, due to increasing demand of timber coming from the bioenergy the bioeconomy sectors, in a context where illegal logging continues to be recorded in a number of Countries. Overall, protecting forests means protecting biodiversity and working for a climate neutral and climate resilient land.
In this context, DG Environment organises an international Conference on Forest for Biodiversity and Climate Change on 4th and 5th February 2020 in Brussels (Charlemagne building, European Commission).