EU agrees on LULUCF regulation
On 14 December, the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the LULUCF regulation. The agreement sends an important signal to Europe’s millions of family forest owners as it should mean a step towards enabling the full potential of Europe’s forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, the final impacts of the LULUCF regulation will be seen in the coming years as Member States start to implement it.

Enabling the full potential of sustainably managed forests and the use of wood in the LULUCF regulation would put the EU on track to meet the Paris Agreement. It sends a signal to Europe’s forest owners that they can continue taking care of their forests and invest into sustainable forest management – the best long-term strategy to maintain the carbon sink, enhance the bioeconomy and use of wood, create resilient forest ecosystems and ensure multiple benefits from our forests.

The LULUCF regulation has an indirect impact on forest owners. If the long-term climate benefits of forestry are not acknowledged and forestry is accounted as an emission despite forest harvesting being well below the growth, the willingness to invest into the forestry and forest-based sector would be hampered. This would in turn hamper well-functioning wood markets, which enables that forests can be taken care of.

It is crucial for the EU to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire forest-based value chain. This allows for the de-fossilization of society and the development of a sustainable EU bioeconomy, based on EU-grown renewable resources. Restricting the use of EU wood, inevitably would lead to increasing imports from outside the EU.

Forestry and use of wood-based products are uniquely placed to tackle climate change, as it is the main sector removing CO2 from the atmosphere and providing a renewable raw material to replace fossil-based products and energy. EU forests absorb the equivalent of nearly 10% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions each year.

The regulation on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) will incorporate greenhouse gas emissions and removals related to forest and agricultural land into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.