Tag Archives: Deforestation

Fight against illegal logging

Fight against illegal logging

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fight against illegal logging


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Environment

Fight against illegal logging

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market.


Illegal logging covers any form of harvesting, processing or marketing of timber in violation of the legislation of the country of harvest. Due to the deforestation and damage that they cause, such practices have serious repercussions on the environment, such as loss of biodiversity and an increase in CO2 emissions. Illegal logging also has economic and social repercussions.

Timber and timber products

This Regulation applies not only to imported timber, but also to timber harvested or processed within the European Union. It covers a wide range of timber products, listed in the Annex in accordance with the nomenclature of the Community Customs Code.

Obligations for operators

This Regulation establishes three principal obligations:

  • Timber and timber products placed on the market must come from legal harvesting;
  • Operators placing timber and timber products on the market must use a system of ‘due diligence’. The system of due diligence is a risk management system which aims to minimise the risk of illegal timber being present in the supply chain. Operators must be able to provide specific information on the timber and timber products placed on the market and to conduct a risk analysis;
  • Operators must keep information on their suppliers and on the traders they have supplied with timber for at least five years. This ensures traceability.

Due diligence systems

This Regulation offers operators the option of using the due diligence systems put in place by the monitoring organisations. These are organisations with the necessary expertise and analysis capacity to help their members comply with the rules. These organisations must meet legal and technical conditions in order to be recognised by the European Commission.

Status of timber and timber products

The Union negotiates and concludes voluntary partnership agreements (“FLEGT”) with certain countries in order to ensure that the timber imported from these countries is from a legal origin. The timber exported under these agreements is covered by an authorisation system introduced by Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005.

In accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Regulation (EC) No 338/97 specifies the conditions for the issue of permits for certain types of timber. Timber which has such a permit is also considered by this Regulation to have been legally harvested.


The date of application for this Regulation is set for 3 March 2013. European operators, timber producers and Member States (including commercial partners) should therefore have the necessary time to prepare themselves. In the meantime, the Commission may adopt more detailed rules.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 995/2010


OJ L 295, 12.11.2010

Combating deforestation

Combating deforestation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating deforestation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Environment

Combating deforestation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 October 2008 “Addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss” [COM(2008) 645 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Forests cover roughly 30% of the world’s land area and offer major environmental benefits: they are amongst the most important habitats for biodiversity and provide crucial services by contributing to erosion prevention, water purification and the storage of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The livelihoods of 1.6 billion people in the world depend on forest resources.

Forests are under threat from deforestation. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 13 million hectares of forests are lost every year. The main direct causes of forest destruction are changes in land use and badly controlled infrastructure development.

Proposed EU objectives

Protecting forests is an effective means of combating global warming. The action proposed by the European Union (EU) aims to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 at the latest and to reduce tropical deforestation by at least 50 % by 2020 compared to current levels. This Communication sets out the main lines of the action proposed by the European Commission, invites contributions from all stakeholders and sets in motion a series of initial actions that will provide the foundations for a global response to deforestation.

The Commission considers that the battle against deforestation must be fought on several levels:

  • by strengthening forest governance and institutions at local and national level;
  • by rewarding the value of the services provided by forests and making them more economically attractive than the benefits which can be derived from deforestation;
  • by taking account of demand and the responsibility of consumers;
  • by taking into account the work of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (EN) and international climate negotiations;
  • by improving means for forest monitoring and assessment in order to obtain high-quality information to support decision-making.

Contribution of Community policies

Many European policies have indirect impacts on deforestation and the EU can help promote sustainable forest management, in particular through:

  • Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT);
  • work carried out under the framework of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA);
  • green public procurement policies;
  • promoting eco-labelling and forest certification.

Furthermore, the Commission highlights the existing link between demand for agricultural commodities and land use. It stresses the need to increase agricultural production without further deforestation, which requires substantial investment, particularly in agricultural research to increase productivity in this sector in developing countries. Vigilance is also needed to ensure that an increase in demand for biofuels does not jeopardise efforts to protect forests. In the future, the Commission will assess the impact on deforestation of European and international initiatives and the consumption of imported food and non-food commodities into the Community, and will continue with the review on policy coherence for development.

Mechanisms and funding

Combating deforestation in developing countries requires additional funding (between 15 and 25 billion Euros per year will be needed to halve deforestation by 2020). A major portion of funding could come from proceeds from the auctioning of allowances within the Community’s emissions allowance trading scheme (ETS). Indeed, the proposed amendment of the scheme, presented in January 2008, provides for at least 20% of the auction proceeds to be devoted to climate objectives, deforestation in particular.

Furthermore, the Commission proposes creating a Global Forest Carbon Mechanism (GFCM). As part of this framework, a pilot phase could be envisaged to test the inclusion of “deforestation credits” (avoided deforestation credits) in carbon markets. Governments could use these credits to achieve the targets allocated to them for the period post-2012 concerning the reduction of emissions. The possibility of authorising companies to use “deforestation credits” to offset a portion of their emissions could be considered after 2020.


These proposals constitute the European Commission’s contribution towards tackling climate change, the protection of nature, and biodiversity. They should help to define the EU’s position in international climate negotiations. Furthermore, the Commission has been provoking discussion on development cooperation and the forestry sector and forestry management within the Union’s borders for several years. This Communication is accompanied by a proposal for a Regulation which aims to minimise the risk of illegally harvested timber and timber products entering the Community market (see related acts).

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 October 2008laying down obligations for operators who place timber and timber products on the market[COM(2008) 644 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].
As part of combating illegal logging and related trade, the Commission sets out obligations for operators who introduce timber and timber products on the Community market so as to minimize the risk of illegally harvested timber and timber products being placed on the Community market and in order to stop forest degradation and deforestation.

Biodiversity strategy for 2020

Biodiversity strategy for 2020

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Biodiversity strategy for 2020


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Biodiversity strategy for 2020

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 3 June 2011, entitled: “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” [COM(2011) 244 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the European Union (EU) by 2020, by identifying six priority targets.. This strategy is an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, and, in particular, of the flagship initiative entitled “A resource-efficient Europe”.

Target 1: conserving and restoring nature

The EU must ensure better application of Directives “Birds” and “Habitats”. These two Directives constitute the backbone of EU biodiversity policy. They have achieved some good results so far, such as the creation of Natura 2000, the world’s largest network of protected areas, covering over 750 000 km2.. However, progress is still insufficient in terms of reaching a favourable conservation status of all habitats and species of European importance. In order to achieve the first target of this strategy, Member Sates must ensure better application of existing legislation. In particular, they must manage and restore the Natura 2000 sites by investing the necessary resources. These actions would contribute towards halting biodiversity loss and restoring biodiversity by 2020.

Target 2: maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and their services

The integration of a green infrastructure, restoring at least 15 % of the degraded ecosystems by 2020, and the development of an initiative aimed at preventing any net loss of ecosystems and their services by 2015, will be essential measures for maintaining and improving ecosystem services (for example the pollination of crops by bees).

Target 3: ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and forestry

The instruments provided under the CAP should contribute towards maximising areas under agriculture across grasslands, arable land, and permanent crops that are covered by biodiversity measures, by 2020.

Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments will be put in place for all forests that are publicly owned and for forest holdings above a certain size, by 2020. The plans must ensure sustainable management of forests in order to receive funding under the EU’s Rural Development Policy.

Measures adopted to ensure sustainable management must also contribute towards achieving targets 1 and 2 of the strategy.

Target 4: ensuring sustainable use of fisheries resources

The measures adopted as part of the Common Fisheries Policy must enable the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) to be achieved by 2015. In order to achieve this, it is essential to achieve a population by age and by size distribution indicative of a healthy stock. Through fisheries management with no significant adverse impacts on other stocks, species and ecosystems, it will be possible to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020, in accordance with the “Marine Strategy Framework-Directive”..

Target 5: combating invasive alien species

With the exception of the legislation on the use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture, there is currently no comprehensive EU policy on combating invasive alien species. However, these species pose a significant threat to European biodiversity. It is therefore necessary to identify them, isolate or eradicate them, and to control their introduction in order to prevent the appearance of new species. To this end, the Commission will fill policy gaps in combating invasive alien species with a dedicated legislative instrument..

Target 6: addressing the global biodiversity crisis

The EU must step up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss by meeting the commitments made at the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in Nagoya in 2010. During this conference, the EU committed to:

  • achieving the goals set by the global strategic plan for biodiversity 2011-2020;
  • implementing the Nagoya protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use (ABS Protocol); and
  • mobilising additional resources to finance the challenge of protecting biodiversity world-wide.


The strategy responds to two major commitments made by EU officials in March 2010, namely halting biodiversity loss in the EU by 2020 and protecting, assessing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2050.