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Unión de Selvicultores del Sur de Europa


Balance of 2023: A prolific year in the development of European legislative initiatives that affect our forests

15 / 12 / 2023

This year has been a year of intense activity for the USSE in terms of lobbying in Brussels, given the large number of European legislative initiatives that have been promoted and that directly or indirectly affect our forests.

Throughout 2023, the final text of the Regulation on deforestation and forest degradation has been approved and will enter its implementation phase in 2024.  To this end, the European Commission and the Member States will have to work with the parties involved to clear up the doubts that some of the definitions in the text have given rise to, as they are open to interpretation, as well as to provide legal certainty to the different operators who will be affected by this regulation.

On the other hand, we closed the year with an agreement, apparently final, between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission on the Nature Restoration Act, whose final vote in the European Parliament will take place next February. 

This is a text that aims to restore ecosystems as they were in the past, which in a way implies ignoring climate change. It should be borne in mind that if, as predicted, the temperature rises by 2.5ºC by the end of the century, habitats will be transformed and many species that until now were native will cease to grow where they did in the past. That is why, as the USSE has defended throughout the negotiation process of the aforementioned law, instead of seeking the romantic recreation of a landscape that will not return, we should manage our ecosystems in order to prepare them to adapt to climate change.

We also consider it relevant to highlight that a final agreement between the institutions on the Carbon Sequestration Certification Framework is expected by the end of the year. While the final text approved in the final vote in the Parliament last November underlines the contribution of forestry in carbon sequestration, at the same time it jeopardizes the limitations to capitalize on the true potential of sustainably managed multifunctional forests.

In this regard, we recall that the USSE will hold next April 10 in Bordeaux, in collaboration with Acclena and the Syndicat des Selviculteurs du Sud de l'Europe, a seminar on certification and carbon markets, which in addition to presenting different models developed in Europe, will provide an opportunity to discuss how to fit in the carbon market.

The year has ended with the recent publication by the Commission of a proposal on the Forest Monitoring Law, as foreseen in the European Forestry Strategy 2030, which will be discussed in the coming months.

We consider that this year has been very prolific in the development of European legislative initiatives that affect our forests, which has intensified the actions carried out by the USSE in cooperation with other European, national and/or regional forest owners' organizations, and always with the invaluable support of its members and the institutions that support it.

Making the uniqueness of our southern European forests visible in the light of the different European regulations with the aim of making the needs and the hard work of those of us who care for and manage them understood in order to make them resilient and multifunctional forests in a time of uncertainty due to the climate crisis, has been one of the priority objectives of the USSE in this 2023 and will continue to be so in the years to come.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays and a prosperous 2024.

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USSE Balance 2023