Scientists warn MEPs against watering down EU deforestation law

The Guardian, Arthur Neslen in 05/07/2022

Group of scientists warned MEPs about the risks of a dilution in EU legislation. More than 50 scientists from around the world say changes to the project could undermine net-zero emissions plans in Europe and other forested areas on the planet.

European environment ministers amended a draft regulation to redefine “forest degradation” as the replacement of primary forest with plantations or other wooded land. In the EU, which has around 3.1 million hectares of primary forest out of 159 million hectares of total forest, this would limit the scope of the law to just 2% of the total area.

In addition, the proposal will also be applied internationally, potentially preventing legislation from combating the loss of forests on EU soil and deflecting most environmental problems, placing too much responsibility on developing countries.

The European Commission’s original proposal defined forest degradation as resulting from unsustainable operations that have reduced the biological complexity and long-term productivity of forest ecosystems, as defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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