European forests are crucial to achieving the European Green Deal — a socially and territorially fair transition to a circular bioeconomy, in which resources are renewable, biologically based, sustainably managed and reused whenever possible (M. Palahí et al. https://doi.org/10.36333/k2a02; 2020). The European Union Forest Strategy currently being drawn up needs actionable vision as climate change and natural disturbances erode forests’ capacity to provide key ecosystem services. It could also generate a range of renewable options to replace fossil-based products.
In my view, we should increase the ecological, economic and social value of EU forests simultaneously. The Forest Strategy needs to catalyse a deal that is rooted in interconnected plans for adaptation–restoration, innovation and employment.
The adaptation–restoration plan would implement dynamic conservation and integrated management to foster biodiversity at different spatial scales (see go.nature.com/2ryt). The innovation plan would use forest resources to stimulate new business models that decarbonize important industrial sectors, such as textiles, construction and packaging. And the employment plan would ensure a green transition that is fair by investing in upgrading the skills of new and existing workers based in forests.
Nature 593, 510 (2021)
The author declares no competing interests.