France

France

The area of forest in France has steadily grown since 1990, and in 2015 forests accounted for more than 30% of the country’s land area. 90% of these forests are naturally regenerated, and the remainder are plantations. The majority of forests are privately owned, with the state owning about 25% (FAO, 2015).

The majority of France’s imports of wood-based products are from within the EU, and this proportion has been increasing since 2000. This partly reflects a drop in imports of tropical hardwood timber. At the same time, imports from China have grown rapidly, reaching nearly 15% of wood-based product imports in 2013. Illegal timber is estimated to make up a small proportion of imports. In 2013, it was estimated that just 1% of wood-based product imports (by volume) were illegal – a decline from 3% in 2000 (Chatham House, 2014).

France has been very engaged in efforts to tackle the trade in illegal timber. It has been amongst the more active of the EU member states in developing the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, including the negotiation and implementation of the voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs). The government has also been promoting the production and consumption of sustainable timber (Chatham House, 2014). As an EU Member State, France is required to implement the EU Timber Regulation, which came into force in March 2013.