European forests

Conserving biodiversity through sustainable forestry management

260.000 jobs in Europe

Bringing social and economic added value to rural areas

Use more wood

Reduce CO2 emissions and tackle climate change

Building with wood

A natural, strong, durable and recyclable material

Oak forest dieback


 Oak forest dieback

Source: European Parliament

Written answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission (Rule 138) by César Luena (S&D) on “Oak forest dieback”

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission

1. The Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests(1) includes actions to strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation and encourage restoration. In addition, the 2013 EU Forest Strategy(2) continues to foster action at EU and national level to enhance resilience to changing climate. Action at local level is promoted also under the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change(3) and the guidance on management of forests in Natura 2000 areas(4).

2. The Commission proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy(5) refers to the promotion of sustainable forestry in the EU. Under the proposed new delivery model, Member States will have the possibility to design interventions based on forest management plans or equivalent instruments which are better adapted to their needs, and may comprise the creation, protection, restoration and improvement of forests, taking into account climate adaptation needs. In addition, Horizon Europe(6) will continue to provide support for research for better understanding the causes and developing remedies of dieback.

3. The Commission shares the view that urgent action is needed to halt biodiversity loss, as stated in the mid-term review(7)
of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020(8) and the Action Plan for Nature and People and the Economy(9). While progress exists in many areas, there is the need for much greater effort on the implementation at national level of EU biodiversity
legislation(10) and a more effective integration of biodiversity concerns into agriculture, forestry, fisheries, regional development and trade policies. As regards future action, the current Commission is not in a position to answer questions related to the mandate of its successor and invites the Honourable Member to address the question to the next Commission once it takes office.

(1) COM(2019) 352.
(2) COM(2013) 659.
(3) COM(2013) 216.
(5) COM(2018) 392.
(6) framework-programme_en
(7) COM (2015) 478.
(8) COM (2011) 244.
(9) COM (2017) 198.
(10) Directive 2009/147/EC and Council Directive 92/43/EEC.

Question for written answer E-002700/2019 to the Commission
Rule 138 César Luena (S&D)

Subject: Oak forest dieback

Forest dieback affecting trees of the genus Quercus is the biggest threat to evergreen and cork oak forests on the Iberian Peninsula, as well as in northern Morocco and France. It poses a major risk to ecosystems such as cork oak pastureland and plantations, and to ancient woodland dating back to the pre-Quaternary period, including in areas such as the Los Alcornocales (cork oak) natural park in the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga.

The Commission is currently providing funding for the CCPaME project under the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie programme, the aim of which is to investigate the direct and indirect effects of climate change on Phytophthora cinnamomi, the organism that is the main cause of dieback. If no urgent action is taken, however, half of the woodland concerned will be gone within 50 years.

1. How is the Commission intending to implement the recent European forestry strategy, taking account of factors relating to the climate and to types of woodland?

2. How can the future CAP help solve the dieback problem?

3. Given the loss of biodiversity that is occurring all over the world and the EU’s intention to spearhead a binding global agreement on biodiversity, does the Commission not take the view that it ought to take urgent action to prevent biodiversity loss, for example by setting up a replanting fund?