Today, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on the collection of forest data. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation considers the development of the data collection system important. However, it is also important to refrain from setting an excessively detailed level of forest observation. The role of the national forest inventory and other national data collection systems must be ensured in the further preparation of the regulation.

The forest data reported by EU Member States has not been commensurate in all respects; for example, the collection schedules vary between different Member States. Harmonising this information would contribute to EU-level forest observation activities. However, in the current regulation for forest monitoring, the Commission nevertheless proposes forest-related data reporting at a highly detailed level.

- The proposal is quite worrying and raises the question of the real purpose of the regulation. For what purpose does the Commission need such detailed information on the forests of the Member States, asks Maija Rantamäki, Manager, International and EU Forest Affairs at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

- Finland has a successful tradition of conducting the national forest inventory, and now this role of national data collection is being questioned by the EU, she continues.

The proposed regulation lays down rules for the collection of data, which is considered to support the planning of forest use in the Member States, for example, in promoting forests' resilience against forest damage. In addition, the proposal encourages Member States to draw up voluntary, long-term forest plans and presents a proposal for their content. The proposal also includes, as usual, a proposal for granting the Commission extensive powers to adopt implementing acts and delegated acts.

- Promoting the adaptability of forests is extremely important, but any related actions should always be decided at the national level, taking into account national conditions. Furthermore, the Commission's lower-level regulatory powers should not be increased, emphasises Rantamäki.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation believes that the collection of national forest data by utilising the national forest inventory must be ensured in any further negotiations. In addition, the scope of the regulation should not expand beyond forest monitoring.  The Commission's proposal to steer voluntary long-term forest plans at the EU level must also be questioned.

Next, the regulation will be forwarded to the European Parliament and the Council. It is likely that the processing of the regulation will not be completed before next summer's elections for the European Parliament.