Forests safeguard our natural capital and play a major role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, as they store carbon in trees and soil, prevent flooding and soil erosion and improve the resilience of ecosystems. In Europe, forests cover about 215 million hectares (42% of land area), of which 90% are available for recreational activities and 77% for wood supply
Forests and forest-based industries are at the heart of the bio-economy.
The increased use of wood and other forest derived biomaterials as renewable raw materials for industry, retail construction and bioenergy generation offers Europe the chance to contribute to a more sustainable future and maintain its competiveness, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and substituting plastic, concrete and steel with renewable and recyclable materials.
Over the last 5 years (2015-2019), the EIB lent EUR 5.6bn to the forestry sector around the world.
Projects eligible for financing
EIB finances both public and private sector investment projects in the entire forest value chain, including SMEs and mid-caps that are targeting:
Sustainable forest management (e.g. afforestation, reforestation, forest rehabilitation and protection, erosion/flood control, infrastructure, etc). Example of financed projects: afforestation and forest rehabilitation in Ireland and China, covering over 600 000 hectares and safeguarding over 60 000 jobs in rural areas; reforesting 9 000 hectares of degraded land in Peru under the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, expected to improve the livelihoods of 2 400 producers.
Sustainable renewable wood based materials production in the wider bio-economy (e.g. primary and secondary processing, renewable energy, energy efficiency, RDI). Example of financed project: Pulp mill modernisation in Sweden, including regeneration and replanting of 68 000-hectares of forests.
Restoration after major natural hazards (e.g. wild fires, flooding, wind throws, pest outbreaks). Example of financed projects: forest fire prevention and mitigation in Spain, improving over 500 000 hectares of forests and enhancing over 10 000 permanent jobs.