New study sets out nine recommendations to help implement the EU Forest Strategy

26 September 2023

A unique EFI science-policy study assesses how national and regional policies meet the goals of the EU Forest Strategy and presents nine policy recommendations to aid the Strategy’s implementation.

In ‘Meeting the European Union’s Forest Strategy goals: A comparative European assessment”, a team of 16 authors analysed policies in 15 countries in and outside the EU, as well as three regions in Spain and looked at the patterns which emerged.

Led by Mireia Pecurul-Botines, researcher at the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), the authors found there is a striking diversity of socio-economic, en­vironmental and political settings for forests and forestry in Europe and even within countries, which affect the impact of the Forest Strategy. At the same time, there are common issues for forest governance and management across Europe, including a considerable divide of forestry and conserva­tion interests and the increasing impact of climate change and related forest disturbances.

Drivers that enhance and/or hinder the imple­mentation capacity of countries and regions in­clude: domestic forest policy developments (for example, the development of shared national/ regional visions for future forests); policy fragmen­tation and restructured administrative competenc­es; increasing demand for (new) forest policy goals in the face of a lack of hu­man and financial resources; different interpreta­tions of sustainable forestry and closer to nature practices and a lack of systematic conflict resolu­tion to meet the increasing polarisation of ideological positions.

Based on the analysis, the authors created a ‘toolbox’ of nine policy recommendations to aid the implementation of the Forest Strategy, some relevant for the whole of Europe, others of more importance for specific countries or groups of countries.

  1. Reconsider and agree on shared European key objectives on forests.
  2. Respect the diversity of forestry settings in Europe and strive for regionally adapted im­plementation trajectories for European forest policy goals and EU forest related policies.
  3. Strengthen the social license for forest policy.
  4. Invest in knowledge generation and knowl­edge communication.
  5. Connect policy objectives to economic incen­tives.
  6. Tackle climate change and use it as a lever­age point for a renewed societal deal on for­ests.
  7. Improve information on policy impacts and adapt policies accordingly.
  8. Establish a cross-country dialogue on forest governance.
  9. Increase transparency of forest policy making and implementation at all levels.

Lead author Pecurul-Botines said: “The EU Forest strategy is a fundamental guiding policy to steer forest multifunctionality in Europe. Policy studies like this one are needed to assess systematically how different countries’ policy priorities and forestry contexts influence meeting the EU Forest Strategy goals, and to foster learning and dialogue across them.”


Pecurul-Botines, M., Secco, L., Bouriaud, L., Giurca, A., Brockhaus, M., Brukas, V., Hoogstra-Klein, M.A., Konczal, A., Marcinekova, L., Niedzialkowski, K., Øistad , K., Pezdevšek Malovrh, Š., Pietarinen, N., Roux, J-L., Wolfslehner, B., Winkel, G. 2023. Meeting the European Union’s Forest Strategy goals: A comparative European assessment. From Science to Policy 15. European Forest Institute.

Last modified: 26 September 2023