Worldwide, forests are being lost at the alarming rate of 800 football fields per hour. With deforestation being a critical contributor to climate change and a leading cause of biodiversity loss, it is becoming increasingly clear that a sustainable future cannot be achieved without tackling deforestation and taking measures to protect- and sustainably manage forests. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 420 million hectares of forest — an area larger than the EU — were lost to deforestation between 1990 and 2020. It is estimated that EU consumption represents around 10% of global deforestation.
In October 2020, Parliament made use of its prerogative in the Treaty to ask the Commission to come forward with legislation to halt EU-driven global deforestation.
MEPs have already called for strengthening the overall climate benefits from forests and the forest-based value chain, namely CO2 absorption and carbon storage in wood-based products. Parliament also emphasises the need to increase funding for research into the substitution of fossil fuels and fossil-fuel materials. Forests and the entire forest-based value chain are fundamental to further develop of the circular bio-economy, which delivers important climate change mitigation and adaptation services.Parliament wants binding targets to protect and restore forest ecosystems, especially primary forests (those that have not been been affected by people's actions in recent times).