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31 Oct 2013

European Forest Wood Chain

The nature conservation scenario is implemented at the EU scale; the scenario takes into account four different levels of designating EU forests as nature areas. It focusses on implementation of Natura 2000 targets. One level assumes that current forest area covered by Natura 2000 designation will remain the same over time. A second level assumes the documented expectations of Natura 2000 will be achieved by 2010. The other two levels are variations in coverage shares that highlight the possibilities of not meeting the targets, or surpassing them. In the scenario under the A1 reference future the EU timber market will be greatly challenged by a saturation of foreign imports, making timber production from Natura 2000 sites not economic.  With lower investments into forest management and decreasing harvesting levels in Europe, such areas effectively will be removed from production. In the scenario under the B2 reference future there is sustained demand for high grade structural timber for building and an increase in demand for bio-fuel with less competition from wood imports and more competition from agricultural development.  Under these circumstances it seems likely that management of Natura 2000 areas will continue, under a form of 'close-to-nature' type management, resulting in longer rotations, more thinnings and less felling, a change to mixed species in plantations and an overall decrease in yields.