BRUSSELS - On June 17, the European Union (EU) passed the Nature Restoration Law. This landmark policy implements safeguards for the region’s existing forests, while also restoring degraded ones and improving the biodiversity of forests managed for wood production.

The policy is a huge step for the preservation of the EU’s forests, which face increasing pressures. The region’s tall forests — which are critical for carbon storage and biodiversity — have declined by 2.2 million hectares over the past two decades.

Meanwhile, more recently, record-breaking wildfires, pest outbreaks and increased bioenergy production in response to the Russia-Ukraine war are driving forest losses throughout the continent. WRI experts analyze the latest data from the University of Maryland’s GLAD Lab, available on the Global Forest Watch platform.

The State of the World’s Forests

Tropical forests are home to some of the world’s most precious biodiversity and provide critical goods and services to millions of people. Encouragingly, between 2022 and 2023, Brazil and Colombia — home to the majority of the Amazon rainforest — experienced a 36% and 49% decrease in primary forest loss, respectively. Yet other countries like Bolivia, Laos, Nicaragua and more essentially counteracted this progress with sharp increases in their own tropical forest loss.