The European Commission has launched an online public consultation on the upcoming legislative proposal for a new EU framework for forest monitoring and strategic plans, as foreseen in the EU Forest Strategy for 2030.

The aim is to develop an EU-wide forest observation framework to provide open access to detailed, accurate, regular and timely information on the condition and management of EU forests.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Our forests are under huge pressure. We have all witnessed the wildfires this summer, and in addition to climate change, forests suffer from biodiversity loss, increased land use, pests and the intensification of forest harvesting.

“Yet, they also play a key role in responding to those challenges. This new initiative on forest monitoring and strategic plans will ensure that timely and accurate information on EU forests is available, so that policymakers, foresters and land managers are able to take swift and decisive action in response to the new pressures on forests.”

In addition to improving forest monitoring, the information gathered through forest observation will lead to more data-driven decision-making on forests. It is expected to reducing illegal logging, incentivising and rewarding more sustainable forest management, and supporting the adaptation of forests to climate change, all of which is key to increasing public trust in forest management.

This initiative will also help deliver a Europe fit for the digital age as it will empower people, businesses and administrations by providing access to harmonised forest-related data and making better use of digital technologies.

The European Green Deal calls for action to improve the quantity and quality of forests in the European Union, so the EU can reach its goal of climate neutrality and creating a healthy environment.

The new EU Forest Strategy for 2030 set the vision for effective afforestation, forest preservation and restoration in Europe. All stakeholders are invited to share their views during the online public consultation that runs until 17 November.