Assessment of possible leakage effects of implementing EU COM proposals for the EU Biodiversity Strategy on forests and forest management in non-EU countries

Overarching objective of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 is recovering biodiversity by strengthening the protection and restoration of nature. Key elements are the creation of protected areas on at least 30% of Europe's land and sea area, including stronger protective measures for forests. However, any implementation of dedicated measures will reduce roundwood production in EU member states. It is to be expected that parts of this reduced roundwood production will be compensated by increasing roundwood production in non-EU countries. There is a fundamental risk of biodiversity losses in non-EU countries accompanying such leakage of roundwood production. From a global perspective, such biodiversity losses must be opposed to biodiversity gains in EU countries. The presented study provides a first assessment of possible leakage effects and rep-resents the state of work as of September 2020. At first, the presented study provides an estimate of the decline in roundwood production in EU member states as a result of implementing partial or full production restrictions in forests. In a second step, implications of reduced roundwood production within EU-27 on global wood markets are assessed. Finally, leakage of roundwood production to non-EU countries is evaluated using indicators related to governance, sustainable forest management, biodiversity, forest condition, deforestation pressure and socio-economic aspects. In order to estimate the reduction in roundwood production in EU countries firstly three single implementation measures are assessed and then consolidated for Germany: (i) 10 % share of forest area set-aside, (ii) non-utilization of “old-growth forests” and (iii) 30 % share of protected forest areas under Habitats Directive management requirements. As a result, the potential roundwood production in Germany declines on average within the period examined (2018 – 2052) by 23.96 million m³/a to 52.77 million m³/a or to 69 %. In the following calculations, this reduction share is assigned to all EU-27 countries. Modelling international roundwood production leakage using the Global Forests Products Model GFPM projects an overall roundwood production decrease of 42 % in the EU-27 for the year 2050. Increased roundwood production in non-EU countries would compensate for 73 % of the de-reased roundwood production in the EU. The remaining 27 % can be understood as price-induced reduction of wood products consumption. Until 2050 EU-27’s decreased roundwood production would mainly be offset by increased production in the USA. According to the modelling results, 26 % of decreased roundwood production are leaked to the USA. Further leakage occurs to Russia (12 %), Canada (9 %) und Brazil (8 %). Differentiating non-consumption into soft- and hardwood, non-consumption of hardwood is more pronounced (39 %) than non-consumption of softwood (11 %). Consumption of fuelwood declines by 67 % but its production does not shift to non-EU countries. Basically, fuelwood is consumed to a much smaller share, due to increasing prices and the following assumed transition to other energy sources. Only small leakages are calculated for pulp and paper products. Leakages for sawn wood and wood-based panels show comparable relative changes to those modelled for roundwood production...



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