5,156 of 10,000 signatures

To the European Comission and EU member states

This petition is run by Members of the European Parliament Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, Eleonora Evi, Francisco Guerreiro, Grace O’Sullivan, Silvia Spurek, Marie Toussaint, Thomas Waitz, Manuel Bompard and Michal Wiezik

Petition text

 

Let us not continue to watch our future being cut down! The clear-cutting of large areas of forest is still a common and legal forestry practice in many European countries. Clear-cutting has dramatic effects on the climate and the environment and should be banned!

The future of our forests is currently the subject of heated debate in the EU: Old-school, destructive forest practices threaten to prevail over sustainable and close to nature forest management policies. [1] That is why we must act immediately! Clear-cutting must have no place in the forest policy of the future!

Why are clearcuts so destructive?

During a clear-cut, large areas of forest are systematically cleared so that not a single tree remains. The consequences from an ecological point of view are disastrous:

  • The large-scale removal of all trees means that the huge amount of living biomass in the soil (roots, fungal webs, insects, microorganisms) also dies.
  • Because of the strong incidence of light and the frequent use of heavy harvesting machinery, the soil dries out and the risk of erosion increases.
  • The forest area is thus transformed from a CO2 sink into a true CO2 emitter!

We demand from the decision-makers in the EU:

  • to establish a general ban on clear-cutting as part of the EU Forest Strategy;
  • to classify clear-cutting in the LULUCF Regulation as a land change from forest to plantation;
  • to prohibit the accounting of these areas as CO2 sinks;
  • that wood from clear-cuts cannot be declared sustainable under the EU taxonomy, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), the EU Timber Regulation and the EU Supply Chain Act.

Why is this important?

NOW the decisions are being made for the EU-wide forest policy until 2030!

Forests are our green lungs - they absorb CO2, release oxygen and clean the air. They are even our kidney, as they provide clean groundwater through their filtering function. They influence the microclimate by having a cooling effect on surrounding regions and, last but not least, they are home to countless species. Scientists agree that in order to achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, forests must be protected and the total forest area in Europe increased. Nevertheless, deforestation in Europe has increased massively in recent years and even in protected areas, hectares of forest are being clear-cut every day!

What are the long-term consequences of clear-cutting?

It is crystal clear: clear-cutting is a dramatic and destructive intervention in our forests and fuels the climate crisis and species extinction. In the short term, they may appear to be an economically attractive form of forest management, but in the face of today's crises, this practice is simply irresponsible. After clear-cutting, the original natural forest is often replaced by fast-growing and species-poor plantations that have little in common with the complex ecosystem of the forest and its diverse services for humans and nature:

  • It takes many decades for the newly planted trees to grow back and absorb significant amounts of CO2.
  • The destruction of forests through clear-cutting has serious effects on local climatic conditions: cooling effects, air purification, water storage and groundwater recharge are disturbed.
  • The vitality of the soils is impaired in the long term.
  • The newly planted forests are often monocultures and no longer offer the same quality as a habitat for biodiversity.

What would be the impact of a clear-cutting ban?

  • The business model of converting natural forests into plantations would be deprived of its basis.
  • Instead, more nature-close forms of forest management would gain importance and could create new jobs.
  • On the basis of satellite images, Europe's last primary and natural forests could be more effectively protected from illegal logging.

Please use your voice to stop the destruction of Europe's forests by clear-cutting and save the climate!

 

[1] Note: On Friday 23rd July a sentence was changed in the petition text as the new EU Forest Strategy was released and there are many more moments in the EU process where change can be achieved. The sentence "In mid-July, the European Commission will present the new EU Forest Strategy, which will shape EU-wide forest policy until 2030.” Was replaced with the sentence "The future of our forests is currently the subject of heated debate in the EU: Old-school, destructive forest practices threaten to prevail over sustainable and close to nature forest management policies.”

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