Forest and Nature Conservation Policies in Europe: Spain, France, Germany and The Netherlands

Management and sustainable use of natural resource are the main issues on policy agenda in Europe.Nature conservation practice in Central Europe is importantly concerned on protection of nature and preservation of particular species. As a result, the European Commission has passed a common legal framework for nature conservation which based on the Bird and Habitats directive. In 1997, the Natura 2000 initiative was created on the basis of the bird and habitats directive of European Commission. Additionally, the establishment of Natura 2000 areas cannot be accomplished without mentioning the contribution of European forest sector. Even though there was not any common comprehensive forest and nature conservation policies at European level, these policies are integrated with other common legal frameworks and policies such as environmental policy and the bird and habitats directive which have an effect on national forest policy of member states. In 1997, the European Commission issued the “European Union Forestry Strategy” in order to promote cooperation among the member state on forest sector. Multi-functional forestry is the main focus of the strategy because it has integrated the important functions such as ecological, economic, protective and social. In this paper, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands will be selected as the examples in order to highlight and understand more about the forest and nature conservation policies in Europe. Furthermore, the primary data which based on personal communication with professors, government official, forest owners and other relevant stakeholders were also used to support the literature. Based on the analysis, the forest and nature conservation policies adopted by the four states have showed different integration to other related policies. In practice, the forest and nature conservation policy would not work smoothly without combination with other policies like agriculture, land use, tourism, and environment. The future trend of forest and nature conservation policy seems to regulate according to the ecological, economical and social perspectives of these countries.