The European Commission published the updated EU Biodiversity Strategy in May 2020. The aim is to ensure the revival of biodiversity by 2050. The means listed in

the Strategy include a considerable increase of protected areas and restoration of weakened ecosystems. The Strategy aims at including biodiversity as a cross-cutting theme in various policy sectors.

In the forest industry’s opinion, it is important to secure biodiversity and consider all three pillars of sustainability. The goals set in the European Union’s new Biodiversity Strategy for protection and restoration of nature are highly ambitious. Unfortunately, the strategy was prepared without a comprehensive assessment of its economic and social impacts, and it does not recognize the role of sustainable forest management.

Decisions on conservation, protection and restoration of forests must be made at the national level.

In the forest industry’s opinion, decisions on conservation, protection and restoration of forests must be made at the national level. The goals should be attained through

measures chosen by the Member States, and taking the conditions of the Member States into consideration. Instead of directly increasing the land-areas designated for protection and restoration, the practices already used in sustainable forest management to promote biodiversity must be taken into consideration. Protection must be targeted at critical sites.

The biodiversity strategy proposes strict protection of peatlands, primary and old-growth forests. No additional burden can be placed on Finland just because we have a vast amount of forests and peatlands in this country. It must be ensured that the measures listed in the Biodiversity Strategy do not threaten the use of wood by the forest industry or any future increase in the use of wood. Restrictions imposed on the use of wood would jeopardise both the current production and future investments in circular bioeconomy.

The forest industry emphasises that forest policy is a matter for the Member States to decide at the national level. This must be reflected in the forest issues and definitions included in the strategy, such as the definitions of a primary and oldgrowth forest, as well as in the guidelines on the so-called closer-to-nature-forestry.

In future actions, Finland must have a clear, uniform view of the significance of the forest industry as a driver of sustainable economy.