Closer-to-nature forestry : Mapping the views of some stakeholders to the new EU Forest Strategy

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

Abstract: The European Commission adopted the European (EU) Forest Strategy in 2021, where forests and forest management practises such as closer-to-nature forestry (CNF) are identified as a key in solving the two crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. This interview study analyses the attitudes of different forest stakeholders towards CNF and their preferred regulation method of it. Seven stakeholders participated in the interviews, representing three stakeholder groups: forest owners, environmental organisations, and industry organisations. Two environmental organisations and one of the forest owners’ organisations had their own definition of CNF, which entailed mainly natural regeneration and an avoidance of clear cuts. Their perceived purpose of CNF was the same as that of the EU Forest Strategy, as a forest management method aiming to promote climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and timber production. Those who did not have a definition, two of the forest owner’s organisations and two industrial organisations, explained that the definitions of CNF varied depending on the purpose of using it. The three organisations that had a definition of CNF, were also in favour of an EU regulation of CNF. The four organisations that were opposed, argued that the conditions across Europe vary too much to have a common regulation. Instead, they preferred market solutions and other ways of reaching the same goals. The results might depend on a larger inclination of believing in legislation if you have a clear definition of it, but also on the attitudes towards legislation varying in general between stakeholder types. During the finalisation of this study, the European Forest Institute released a report with seven principles of CNF, which calls for further research.

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